The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland 300,000 pairs (chiefly Scotland and Wales).
Cornwall: local resident in coniferous plantations in east and mid Cornwall. First suspected to be breeding at Smallacombe in 1970, but not proven until 1984. Now known to be quite widespread in several plantations west to the Bodmin area. Numbers fluctuate, but some 25-50 pairs breed in a reasonable year. Breeding areas are forsaken in winter, with birds moving into valleys. Immigration brings varying numbers on autumn passage, when parties may be recorded almost anywhere in Cornwall. Isles of Scilly: migrant, chiefly in autumn.
Habitat & Ecology
Breeds in conifer plantations, chiefly mixed Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis and Larch Larix spp. In winter favours groves of Alder Alnus glutinosa , but in many areas comes into gardens to feed on peanut bags (almost invariably red ones!) This species has colonised most of western England and Wales in the past 50 years, aided by the post-war planting of conifers.
Clear-felling of conifer plantations may knock out local populations, albeit temporarily.
Forestry management for wildlife has improved over the past ten years. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.