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Cardinalis cardinalis

Common Name: Northern Cardinal
Cardinalis cardinalis
Cardinalis cardinalis

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Cardinalis
Species: Cardinalis cardinalis

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Northern cardinals are known for their striking red color of the males. Females are largely brown, with red at the tips of their crest, wings, and tailfeathers.

Their beaks are thick and short.

Cardinals are 9" long and have a 12" wingspan.

Habitat & Range

Northern cardinals live in forest edges and shrubs. They are a common bird at feeders.

Their range reaches across the eastern half of the United States, through Texas, into Arizona, and in parts of Mexico. They stay in this range year-round.


Northern cardinals eat seeds, fruit, and insects.

Their call has many variations of whistling. Listen for their “beeww beeww beeww, pitchew pitchew.”

Life Cycle

Cardinals nest in small trees and shrubs, laying up to 5 eggs at a time. Typically, they will use a nest only once.

Featured image by Paul Stein.


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