- Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis


Family:
Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Allies
Size:
Medium
Visits:
Throughout the Year
Behavior:
Perchers

Northern Cardinal Facts

There’s no mistaking the bright red plumage of a male Northern cardinal, especially striking in wintertime against a background of snow. Common year-round east of the Rocky Mountains, these songbirds start serenading early in the morning, with a whistling tee-ew-tee-ew-tee-ew-tee-ew.

Size:
8" Long
Markings:
Males are “cardinal” red from head to tail, with short, thick red bills and black faces. Females are duller brown all over with reddish wings, tail, and crest. Juveniles are generally light brown with an orange-red underside and reddish tail.
Habitat:
Forest edges and urban settings (parks, backyards, gardens).
Behavior:
Northern cardinals make their nests in shrubs and thick vegetation, and tend to forage by way of short flights from shrub to ground. Like blue jays, Northern cardinals use their crests to signal aggression.
Diet:
Seeds, fruit, insects.
Vocals:
Loud and distinct, the song of the Northern cardinal is a cheerful twoit twoit choo-choo-choo-choo-choo.

Female

Female Northern Cardinal

Male

Male Northern Cardinal

Juvenile

Juvenile Northern Cardinal


Northern Cardinals at BBG