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Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis


The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 8.3–9 in and a wingspan of 10–12 in. The male is slightly larger than the female. The male is a brilliant crimson red with a black face mask over the eyes, extending to the upper chest. The color is dullest on the back and wings. The female is fawn, with mostly grayish-brown tones and a slight reddish tint on the wings, the crest, and the tail feathers. The face mask of the female is gray to black and is less defined than that of the male. Both sexes possess prominent raised crests and bright coral-colored beaks. Young birds, both male and female, show the coloring similar to the adult female until the fall, when they molt and grow adult feathers.


Its natural habitat is woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps. This bird is a permanent resident throughout its range, although it may relocate to avoid extreme weather or if food is scarce.


The diet of the Northern Cardinal consists mainly (up to 90 percent) of weed seeds, grains, and fruits. It is a ground feeder and finds food while hopping on the ground through trees or shrubbery. It eats beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, snails, wild fruit and berries, corn, and oats, sunflower seeds, the blossoms and bark of elm trees, and drinks maple sap from holes made by sapsuckers.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Isabela 10 years ago
Cardinalis cardinalis

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keithp2012 8 years ago

Added it to your mission!

Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 8 years ago

would you consider adding this to the backyard birds of northeastern usa mission?
thank you!

Aahangar 10 years ago

Wonderful pictures and cute bird

zulkifly 10 years ago

beautiful. love the first picture!

dolomedia 10 years ago

Stunning picture, vivid colours, superb

Carolina 10 years ago

Es divino! Y siendo tan pequeno es demasiado territorial!

calabuig52 10 years ago

Es precioso éste pájaro, saludos

keithp2012 10 years ago

Thank you for species suggestion, I edited the spotting.

Isabela 10 years ago

Fantastic series!

keithp2012 10 years ago

New photos added.

Isabela 10 years ago


keithp2012 10 years ago

Northern Cardinal

Spotted by

West Babylon, New York, USA

Spotted on Nov 22, 2010
Submitted on Nov 23, 2010

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