Moulin rouge

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The lesser redpoll (Carduelis cabaret) is a small, brown streaked finch with a distinctive red forehead, small black bib and, in breeding males - bright red chests.

In 2001, the species was split into two groups - giving us the lesser redpoll and mealy redpoll which are a larger, paler species with greyer plumage and head.

This website has very useful page with photos of both birds, explaining how to distinguish between the two species.

Dave Hill recently spotted this one at the Rhydymwyn Reserve and tempted it out with some Nyger seeds when he restocked a bird feeder. They are sociable little birds though and often found in small flocks on the ground and in trees.

A Lesser redpoll by Dave Hill

Here in the UK these birds are in decline and on the red list which is probably why I've never see one...

They tend to winter in the south where it's warmer but could turn up anywhere these days as our climate becomes milder.

This one photographed by Jeff Cohen in the same reserve in January shows what they look like in full breeding plumage - with a bright red chest and crown.

Lesser redpoll in full plumage by Jeff Cohen.

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