Northern Cardinal – State bird
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Description: Found across the Eastern United States and Mexico, the Northern Cardinal is a beloved mid-sized songbird with a distinctive red crest and short, thick red bill. Northern Cardinals are fairly social and often join in flocks that may even include birds of other species.
Year Designated: Illinois: 1928, Indiana: 1933, Kentucky: 1942, North Carolina: 1943, Ohio: 1933, Virginia: 1950, West Virginia: 1949
|Life Span||3 to 15 Years|
Conservation Status Least Concern
|Wing Span||25-31 cm|
Taxonomic Serial Number 179124
Compared to the Average State Bird
How the Northern Cardinal measures up:
- Wing span: 5 cm and 14% smaller than the average state bird’s wingspan (36 cm).
- Weight: 37 g and 44% lighter than the average state bird’s weight (85 g)
- Length: 4 cm and 15% shorter than the average state bird’s length (27 cm)
|Appearance||Both sexes have distinctive crests and masks.|
|Male Appearance||The male crest is bright red, while the mask is black. Bright crimson red color overall.|
|Female Appearance||The Female crest is a tan orange color, while th crest is gray. Pale brown color overall with warm reddish tinges in the wings.|
|Diet||As a ground feeder, it typically eats seeds, grains, fruit, occasionally small insects like beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, and snails.|
|Communication Styles||Clear, whistled song patterns, repeated several times. Males generally sing from exposed perches.|
Range of Habitation
Dense shrubby areas such as forests, overgrown fields, and marshy thickets. They are also common in suburban gardens.
full grown:falcons, all accipiter hawks, shrikes, and some owl species including long-eared and eastern screech owls.
hatchling: milk snakes, coluber constrictors, blue jays, eastern gray squirrels, fox squirrels, eastern chipmunks and the house cat.
Mating and Breeding
|Breeding Behavior||Monogamous, pairs mate for life.|
|Nesting||Both sexes participate in nest location scouting. The nests, primarily constructed by the female, are usually wedged in between a fork of small branches in a small tree or shrub. The nest dimensions are typically 2-3 inches tall, 4 inches across, with an inner diameter of about 3 inches. Materials of choice include dogwood, honeysuckle, hawthorn, grape, redcedar, spruce and pines, just to name a few.|
|Nesting and Incubation||The incubation period is 12-13 days. Fledgling occurs after 10-11 days. Up to four broods are raised each year, which the male cares for as the female incubates.|
|Color||A smooth, glossy pearl with a tint of green, or brown. Marked with blotches, concentrated at the ends, which can be gray or brown.|
|Clutch Size||3 to 4 egg(s)|
|Egg Laying Months||March-September|
Naked except for sparse tufts of grayish down, eyes closed, clumsy.
|Interesting Fact||The male Northern Cardinal fiercely defends its territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting its reflection.|
|Best Season to Observe||AutumnSpringSummerWinter|
|Observation Tips||The Northern Cardinal can be best spotted in areas with water located near thick shrubbery.|
|Other Names||Common Cardinal, Redbird|
Really helpful! I LOVE this website! The cardinal is one of my favorite birds, I’m so glad I found this!