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Cornish Red Data (2009)

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.

Carduelis cabaret - Lesser Redpoll

Range & Status

Holarctic; in Britain and Ireland 160,000 pairs, but now declining.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: local resident in coniferous plantations in the Bodmin Moor area; first recorded breeding at Davidstow in 1968 but now known to be present in small numbers at several other upland plantations, including those in the Wadebridge district. Numbers fluctuate but have possibly never exceeded 50 pairs, which are now in decline (perhaps ten pairs at most in 1993). Elsewhere an uncommon passage migrant: in winter sometimes encountered in Alders Alnus glutinosa during sporadic immigration influxes. Isles of Scilly: uncommon migrant, chiefly in autumn.

Habitat & Ecology

Breeds in conifer plantations, chiefly Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis but also favours Birch Betula spp. Prefers young to mid-age plantations, forsakes sites as trees mature and become more densely enclosed. In winter prefers riverside Alders and Birches. Has colonised south-west England (where formerly absent) in the past 50 years, aided by post-war forestry planting.


As plantations mature and become very dense they become unsuitable for Redpolls.


Forestry management; mixed age plantations might allow the continued survival of the species in Cornwall. 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.