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Red Cardinal Bird

The red cardinal bird is one of the most fascinating species of birds which has some unique characteristics. In this article let us explore the world of this brightly colored bird.
There are a number of interesting species of birds in the avian kingdom, whose characteristic features stand out from the rest. The red cardinal bird is one such species of birds that are found mostly in the United States and Canada. It is a songbird with striking features. The cardinal bird got its name due to the fact that the color of its body matched the red vestment worn by Catholic cardinals. This bird, also called Virginia nightingales, was once kept as a pet, but since it was sold as caged birds, a ban was passed against keeping it as pet by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. You can find these birds hopping about in your garden, singing melodiously.

Scientific Classification of the Red Cardinal Bird

The cardinal bird can be taxonomically classified as under.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Cardinalis
Species: C. cardinalis
Binomial Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

Red Cardinal Bird Facts
  • The red cardinal bird is also known by its other names like North cardinal, common cardinal and redbird etc. It is so named because of its brilliant red colored body.
  • The male redbird is slightly larger than its female counterpart. Another distinctive feature about this bird is its crest on its head. It also appears as though this bird is wearing a black colored mask. The females have a dull reddish brown colored body with a gray mask.
  • The habitat of this bird is mainly swamps, shrublands, woodlands and gardens etc. Other regions where you can find this bird are thickets, regions between the fields and forests where shrubs grow in abundance and ornamental trees.
  • Though the cardinal bird mainly feeds on seeds of various plants, like buckwheat, dogwood and grasses etc., it also catches insects for food. The bird's diet also consists of mulberries, hackberries and blackberries etc. If you are planning to attract this bird to your backyard, then place lots of black oil sunflower seeds in the bird feeder.
  • These birds are territorial and are very particular about the place of dwelling. They prefer living around the spot where they were hatched. The male species is very aggressive when it comes to protecting its territory from intruders and predators. It has been observed that the male can fight its own reflection in the mirror for a very long time, in defense of its territory.
  • The cardinals are songbirds and sing in different melodies. The females sing for a longer period of time and also have a complex melody. They sing to attract the male during courtship.
  • Redbirds are highly sociable and can be seen with different types of birds. But during the breeding season, they pair up. The female builds a nest which consists of vines and twigs. The male helps in building the nest, which is normally located in thorny thickets or on trees.
  • The female lays a batch of three eggs and does not leave the nest till the eggs hatch. The male feeds its mate during this period, and when the female needs food, it conveys the message through a song.
  • The fledglings often become hungry because they defecate as soon as they are fed. The adult bird then transports the fecal sac to a distant place so that predators do not find the location.
This was a brief overview on the red cardinal bird. Having a bright plumage makes this bird an easy one to be identified, making bird watching a pleasure. So the next time you notice a bright red color bird, feeding in your garden, you will know what it is.
By Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: 10/4/2011
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