Northern Cardinal

ANIMAL:
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Type of Animal:
Songbird

Habitat:
Gardens, woodland/woodland edge, shrubland, wetlands, thickets/thicket edges, open fields, backyards, urban green spaces, suburban shrub plantings, suburban conifer plantings, grasslands w/ thickets & shrubbery, dense shrubby forest edge, overgrown fields, hedgerows, dense mesquite areas, forests/forest clearings, dense shrubby ornamental landscaping, towns, suburbs, desert washes, swamps, parks, residential areas, tall brush, mesquite groves, agricultural areas, urban areas, temperate grassland, tropical savanna, desert

Location(s):
SE Canada, E & C US as well as S New Mexico, S Arizona, S California, & extreme S Nevada, Mexico, Belize, N Guatemala. Introduced in Hawaii, Bermuda, & S California.

Appearance:
Male vibrant red/crimson w/ black mask/noticeable crest, female fawn to reddish olive/olive-brown w/ dark gray to faded black mask/much smaller crest, sometimes come in yellow mutation

Food/Diet:
Weed seeds, white milo seeds, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, dogwood seeds, grass seeds, buckwheat seeds, sedge seeds, peanuts, suet, grains, berries, fruit, vegetables, maple sap, elm tree bark/blossoms, buds, weeds, insects, snails, spiders, centipedes, carrion

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Not applicable

Lifestyle:
Flocks range from 2-60 birds. Break off into pairs for breeding/nesting season. Flocks of all younger birds common.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock
 
Weight:
1.5 oz

Gestation:
2 weeks 

Life Span:
3-6 years in wild, 10-15 years in captivity

Height:
8.2-9.3 in

Body Length:
8.2-9.3 in

Tail Length:
4 in

Main predators of adults are felids, canids, raptors, shrikes, gray/fox squirrels, snakes, bears, weasels, otters, corvids, crocodilians, raccoons, opossums, & skunks. Red squirrels & chipmunks eat chicks. Cowbirds & house wrens eat eggs.
 
Also called redbird, common cardinal, red cardinal, & cardinal grosbeak.
 
Lay 3-4 eggs per clutch & raise 2-4 clutches a year.
 
Since they’re nonmigratory, they’ll fluff up down feathers as way of keeping cold air from reaching them.

Fun Fact(s):
State bird of 7 US states-Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, W Virginia, & N Carolina.
 
St Louis baseball team (St Louis Cardinals) & Phoenix football team (Arizona Cardinals) named for these birds. These birds also mascots for Ball State University, Illinois State University (the Redbirds), University of Louisville, St John Fisher College, SUNY-Plattsburgh, Wesleyan University, Otterbein University, & Lamar University among others.
 
Name comes from cardinals of Catholic Church, who wore distinctive red robes/caps.
 
Males extremely territorial during breeding season, often fighting to death w/ each other. Males often seen fighting reflection. Females often seen doing this too.
 
Icon of game Angry Birds is male Northern Cardinal.

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