Having been very gently corrected the other day for identifying a redpoll as a linnet, I think I may have the problem cracked. This pair of linnets (I hope) were on our terrace this morning. They're 'definitely' linnets because the male has a pink breast, but not the female, a chestnut back and a black and white tail.
But.... oh dear.... isn't the male supposed to have a red splash on his head? The female, unlike the redpoll female, doesn't have the red head. His red chest is also very muted compared to other males in the breeding season. Perhaps it's just a local variation, or a subspecies.
This is a male redpoll in all his mating finery, with a red head, red chest, two bars on his wings, stripes down his back, and a slightly more pointed beak.
They're both lovely little birds, and very welcome when they make their occasional visits to our bird feeders.