Northern Cardinal: Large, crested finch. The male has a vivid red body. The black mask and chin contrast with heavy, red bill. The female is duller overall with red wings and tail, washed with gray, and has smaller crest. Juvenile resembles female, but is browner and has a dark bill. Forages on ground and in trees and bushes. Feeds on seeds, grains, fruits, insects and snails. Hops instead of walks on ground. Alternates rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides.
Range and Habitat
Northern Cardinal: Resident in eastern U.S. and much of Mexico. Preferred habitats include forest edges, lowlands, and suburban areas.
The Northern Cardinal can live up to 15 years in the wild.
It is the state bird of seven states-Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. No other bird holds this distinction.
Males that have a brighter red color appear to feed at higher rates and have greater reproductive success than males that are duller in color.
A group of cardinals has many collective nouns, including a "college", "conclave", "deck", "radiance", and "Vatican" of cardinals.
The Northern Cardinal has a large range, estimated globally at 5,800,000 square kilometers. Native to North America, Guatemala, and Belize, and now found in the Cayman Islands and Honduras, this bird prefers wetland, forest, and shrubland ecosystems, though it can live in former forests and urban areas. The global population of this bird is estimated at 100,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Northern Cardinal is Least Concern.