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Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior
 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Passeriformes
 Family: Cardinalidae
 Genus: Cardinalis


Cardinal


ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Allen T. Chartier cc logo
  Characteristics

CardinalThe cardinal is about eight inches in length. It has a black mask on its face; a crest on its head; and a short, cone-shaped bill. The mask on the female is usually lighter than the mask on the male.

CardinalCardinals are known for their bright red color, but only the male is red. The female is a dull brown or olive color with dull red on her wings and tail.


  Range

mapThe northern cardinal can be found in most parts of United States east of the Rocky Mountains. It is also found in parts of Arizona, California and New Mexico. The range of the cardinal has increased in the last 50 years to include New York and  New England. Changes in habits caused by humans have made more areas available to the cardinal and made it easier for it to survive in colder climates.

  Habitat
CardinalCardinals tend to live at the edge of woodlands and in the vegetation near houses and gardens. The male cardinal will aggressively defend its territory. In fact, a male cardinal may even defend its territory from a reflection of itself in a window or a mirror!


  Diet
Cardinals eat seeds, grains, fruits and insects. They can often be found at birdfeeders!
  Life Cycle
CardinalCardinals usually raise two broods of young a year. They mate in March and again from May to July. The female usually lays four eggs. The eggs take about 12 days to hatch. Cardinals usually build cup-shaped nests in small trees, bushes, shrubs and thick vines that are no more than three to eight feet off the ground. Their nests are made of twigs and bark and are lined with grass, moss and other soft materials. Young cardinals leave the nest after 11 days and they can fly within 20 days.

  Behavior

CardinalCardinals are non-migratory birds. Most cardinals live within a mile of where they were born. Cardinals are song birds and the male uses its call to attract a mate.


Cardinal
Unlike most northern songbirds, the female also sings. Females will often sing from the nest in what may be a call to her mate. Cardinal pairs have song phrases that they share. If you listen carefully, on the first sunny days of late winter, you may hear the cardinal's song. It sounds like 'cheer, cheer, cheer' or a short 'chink' sound.



 


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