Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

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  • Northern Cardinal |  Photo: NPS
  • Northern Cardinal |  Photo: NPS by v8.6m

Northern Cardinal Photo Gallery

Basic Information






Northern Cardinals are generally between 8.25 and 9.25 inches in length.


up 15 years


Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) facts, habitat, range, cardinal pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the songbird.


Northern Cardinals eat mainly fruit and seeds but will also consume insects.


Ground Forager


Midwest - Eastern U.S., Southwest

Nest Placement


Number of Offspring

2-5 Eggs

Egg Description

Off white often with pale grayish brown specks

Condition at Hatching

Helpless, eyes closed, naked

Social Status

Mixed Flocks


9.75-12.25 in

What does the Northern Cardinal look like?

Northern Cardinals are medium sized songbirds. They have long tails, thick conical red bills and pink legs. Males are a brilliant red overall with a black bandit makes on their faces. Females are less showy; they have an overall light brown with reddish hues on their wings, tails and crests. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and both sexes have pointed crests on their heads.

Northern Cardinal Habitat

Open Forests

Northern Cardinal Facts

Northern Cardinals are primarily herbivores, eating mainly seeds and grains. They will however occasionally enjoy an insect snack. Unlike most songbirds, female cardinals sing songs as well. Both male and females fiercely defend territory, especially during breeding season. Strikingly beautiful, the North Cardinal is the state bird of seven states. They often fall victim to birds of prey.

See also