Redpoll Acanthis flammea


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The European population is estimated at 6,070,000-14,500,000 pairs, which equates to 12,100,000-29,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 60,500,000-145,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
C. f. flammea species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (-77% decline over 40 years, equating to a -30.7% decline per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count. In Europe the population size is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).


In the north of this species's range it breeds in lowland treeless tundra and dry heath with dwarf birch (Betula) and stunted shrubby osiers (Salix), as well as open taiga of pine (Pinus) and spruce (Picea) and scrub. Further south it prefers wooded slopes, swampy hollows and riverine thickets with birch, willow (Salix), juniper (Juniperus), alder (Alnus) and rowan (Sorbus), along with mixed birch and pine. In Iceland it also breeds in introduced conifer plantations and parks. Breeding occurs from late-April to August. Nests are generally built up to five metres above ground in a shrub or tree and frequently on branches close to the trunk and are a cup constructed of grasses, small twigs, plant fibres and roots, bark strips, moss, animal hair and feathers. Clutches are four to six eggs. it feeds mainly on seeds and buds, as well as small invertebrates (Clement 2016) which are usually taken in the breeding season (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species is resident, migratory and irruptive (Clement 2016).


In Poland afforestation and disturbance from recreational activities pose a threat (Jakubiec 2001). This species may also be affected by future climate change (Marthinsen et al. 2008).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Locally, protection of important areas of habitat should be protected from change and disturbance. Research should be undertaken to assess the effects and impacts of climate change.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Acanthis flammea. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.