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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Common Redpoll -- Carduelis flammea

RANGE: Breeds in the northern Arctic region from northern Alaska to Baffin Island, and south to northern British Columbia, and east to Newfoundland. Resident in southern part of the breeding range. Winters from Alaska and northern Saskatchewan east to Newfoundland and south to about mid-United States.

STATUS: Irregular.

HABITAT: Inhabits open fields with scattered small spruces or other trees, or small shrubs in the north circumpolar region. In winter, forms large flocks and moves erratically, occasionally to the edge of forests.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Open field sites with perch areas.

NEST: Generally places nest 3 to 7 feet above the ground, either in a dwarf tree or shrub or on the ground in open tundra. Conceals nest in vegetation, generally near lakes or ponds.

FOOD: Gleans seeds from birches, alders, pines, willows, and shrubs. Also forages on the ground for seeds of grasses, forbs, and trees, and for insects. Moves during winter to find sources of food.

REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Grinnell 1943.

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