Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Cardinals, Piranga Tanagers and Allies (Cardinalidae)

Code 4

NOCA

Code 6

CARCAI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Northern Cardinal has a large range, estimated globally at 5,800,000 square kilometers. Native to North America, Guatemala, and Belize, and now found in the Cayman Islands and Honduras, this bird prefers wetland, forest, and shrubland ecosystems, though it can live in former forests and urban areas. The global population of this bird is estimated at 100,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Northern Cardinal is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Northern Cardinal: This large crested finch has a vivid red body. The black mask and chin contrast with a heavy red bill. Female is duller overall, with red wings and tail washed with gray, and smaller crest. Forages on the ground in trees and bushes. Feeds on seeds, grains, fruits, insects and snails. Hops instead of walking on the ground. Alternates rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides.


Range and Habitat

Northern Cardinal: Native to the Nearctic region. Found throughout eastern and central North America from southern Canada into parts of Mexico and Central America. Introduced to California, Hawaii and Bermuda. Habitats include edges of woods, hedgerows, lowlands, suburban areas, swamps, streamside thickets, and vegetation around houses.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"whoit cheer, whoit cheer, cheer-cheer-cheer; cheer, whoit-whoit-whoit-whoit; wheat-wheat-wheat-wheat", "bir-dy,bir-dy,bir-dy,bir-dy"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Northern Cardinal can live up to 15 years in the wild.
  • It is the state bird of seven states-Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. No other bird holds this distinction.
  • Males that have a brighter red color appear to feed at higher rates and have greater reproductive success than males that are duller in color.
  • A group of cardinals has many collective nouns, including a "college", "conclave", "deck", "radiance", and "Vatican" of cardinals.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Northern Cardinal

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X