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threatened and/or endangered

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis


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Northern Cardinal, male

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Red Cardinal

Family: Cardinalidae, Cardinals view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Mostly bright red except for well-defined black face. Bill is bright red. ADULT FEMALE Has mostly gray-buff body plumage with red tail, red tinge on wings, and red tip to crest. Has a limited amount of black on face and subdued red bill. In flight, note the red underwing coverts (underwing is entirely red in male). JUVENILE Recalls adult female, but is dull brown overall, with reddish flush to breast and tail in particular. Bill is dark.

Dimensions Length: 8-9" (20-23 cm)

Habitat Common resident of wooded habitats, parks, and gardens.

Observation Tips Easy to see in most parks and gardens within its range.

Range Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Southeast

Voice Song is an insistent series of rich, fluty whistles, typically either tiu-tiu-tiu-tiu or p'dee-p'dee-p'dee-p'dee; call is a sharp tik.

Discussion Arguably North America's most instantly recognizable bird with its erectile peaked crest, long tail, and male's stunningly colorful plumage. Often visits feeders in winter. Sexes are dissimilar.