Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Type of Animal:

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

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.

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

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:

Not applicable

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

Additional Info:

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

2 weeks 

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

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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