The Lesser Redpoll is a small, brown, streaky finch with a black bib and a red patch on its forehead. It is, of course, this red patch which gives the bird its redpoll name (poll being an older name for head). They are the smallest ‘type’ of the redpoll complex, and are mainly found in the
UK and adjacent Western European areas.
Once upon a time, they were included with most others as the species Redpoll, within which they were regarded as a subspecies. But the species was ‘split’ relatively recently, so we now have Lesser Redpoll and Common Redpoll (this confusing name includes the Mealy Redpolls and Northwestern Redpolls). In addition, there are the Arctic Redpolls, which to add to the confusion, some regard as at least two taxa, Hornemann’s (Arctic) Redpoll and Coues’s (Arctic) Redpoll.