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"Cardinal bird" redirects here. For sports team mascots, see Cardinal (disambiguation). Cardinal Male Northern Cardinal Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Passeriformes Suborder: Passeri Family: Cardinalidae Ridgway, 1901 Genera Periporphyrus Saltator Caryothraustes Parkerthraustes Rhodothraupis Cardinalis Cyanocompsa Passerina Pheucticus Spiza Cardinalis sinuatus in Tucson, Arizona The Cardinals or Cardinalidae are a family of passerine birds found in North and South America. The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in another family, the Thraupidae (previously placed in Emberizidae). These are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family ranges in size from the 12-cm (4.7 inches), 11.5-gram (.40 oz) Orange-breasted Bunting to the 25-cm (9.8 inches), 85-gram (2.99 oz) Black-headed Saltator[verification needed]. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances; the family is named for the red plumage (colored cardinal like the color of a Catholic cardinal's vestments) of males of the type species, the Northern Cardinal. The "buntings" in this family are sometimes generically known as "tropical buntings" (though not all live in the tropics) or "North American buntings" (though there are other buntings in North America) to distinguish them from the true buntings. Likewise the grosbeaks in this family are sometimes called "cardinal-grosbeaks" to distinguish them from other grosbeaks. The name "cardinal-grosbeak" can also apply to this family as a whole.
Look for Northern Cardinals in inhabited areas such as backyards, parks, woodlots, and shrubby forest edges. Northern Cardinals nest in dense tangles of shrubs and vines
Northern Cardinals tend to sit low in shrubs and trees or forage on or near the ground, often in pairs. They are common at bird feeders but may be inconspicuous away from them, at least until you learn their loud, metallic chip The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird. They’re a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.