Cardinal (bird)

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Northern Cardinal Broadside.jpg
Male northern cardinal
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Ridgway, 1901



An American male cardinal feeds on a sunflower seed. Male Cardinal feeding.jpg
An American male cardinal feeds on a sunflower seed.

Cardinals, in the family Cardinalidae, are passerine birds found in North and South America. They are also known as cardinal-grosbeaks and cardinal-buntings.

Passerine Any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds

A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes, which facilitates perching.

Bird Warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates with wings, feathers and beaks

Birds, also known as Aves or avian dinosaurs, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with approximately ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are more or less developed depending on the species; the only known groups without wings are the extinct moa and elephant birds. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species of birds. The digestive and respiratory systems of birds are also uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments, particularly seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in the Tanager family Thraupidae. Contrariwise, DNA analysis of the genera Piranga (which includes the scarlet tanager, summer tanager, and western tanager), Chlorothraupis , and Habia showed their closer relationship to the cardinal family. [1] They have been reassigned to that family by the American Ornithological Society. [2]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

<i>Paroaria</i> genus of birds

Paroaria, the red-headed cardinals or cardinal-tanagers, are a genus of tanagers. They were until recently placed in the family Emberizidae.

<i>Piranga</i> genus of birds

Piranga is a genus of birds long placed in the tanager family, but now considered members of the cardinal family, Cardinalidae. The genus name Piranga is from Tupi Tijepiranga, the name for an unknown small bird.

Species list

(1) "Masked" clade:

Yellow cardinal species of bird

The yellow cardinal is a species of bird in the family Thraupidae. It is the only member of its genus, Gubernatrix.

Red-and-black grosbeak species of bird

The red-and-black grosbeak is a species of grosbeaks in the family Cardinalidae. It is the only species in the genus Periporphyrus. It is found in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest.

<i>Caryothraustes</i> genus of birds

Caryothraustes is a genus of grosbeak in the Cardinalidae family.

A Cardinalis sinuatus in Tucson, Arizona Cardinalis sinuatus 3.jpg
A Cardinalis sinuatus in Tucson, Arizona
A female northern cardinal Female Northern Cardinal in my garden.jpg
A female northern cardinal
Male Northern Cardinal - Manhasset, New York Male Northern Cardinal - Manhasset, NY 02.jpg
Male Northern Cardinal - Manhasset, New York
A male cardinal in Texas Cardinal side view.JPG
A male cardinal in Texas
Newly hatched cardinals in Texas Cardinal babies.jpg
Newly hatched cardinals in Texas

(2) "Blue" clade:

(3) Ant tanager clade:

(4) "Chat" clade:

(5) "Pheucticus" clade:


They are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family's smallest member is the 12-cm (4.7-in), 11.5-g (0.40-oz) orange-breasted bunting. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances. The northern cardinal type species was named by colonists for the male's red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal's biretta. [3]

The "North American buntings" are known as such to distinguish them from buntings of the Old World family Emberizidae. The name "cardinal-grosbeak" can also apply to the cardinalid family as a whole.

Most species are rated by the IUCN as being of least concern, though some are near threatened. [4]

Biological suppression of west nile virus

A study conducted in 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, on West Nile virus (WNV) transmission in the United States, found that unlike other species, cardinals biologically suppress the disease upon infection. [5]

Related Research Articles

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Tanager family of birds

The tanagers comprise the bird family Thraupidae, in the order Passeriformes. The family has an American distribution. The Thraupidae are the second-largest family of birds and represent about 4% of all avian species and 12% of the Neotropical birds.

<i>Passerina</i> genus of birds

The genus Passerina is a group of birds in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). Although not directly related to buntings in the family Emberizidae, they are sometimes known as the North American buntings.

The seedeaters are a form taxon of seed-eating passerine birds with a distinctively conical bill.

Grosbeak Wikimedia disambiguation page

Grosbeak is a form taxon containing various species of seed-eating passerine birds with large beaks. Although they all belong to the superfamily Passeroidea, these birds are not part of a natural group but rather a polyphyletic assemblage of distantly related songbirds. Some are cardueline finches in the family Fringillidae, while others are cardinals in the family Cardinalidae; one is a member of the weaver family Ploceidae. The word "grosbeak", first applied in the late 1670s, is a partial translation of the French grosbec, where gros means "large" and bec means "beak".

Red-throated ant tanager species of bird

The red-throated ant tanager is a medium-sized passerine bird. This species is a resident breeder on the Caribbean slopes from southeastern Mexico to eastern Panama. It was usually considered an aberrant kind of tanager and placed in the Thraupidae, but is actually closer to the cardinals (Cardinalidae). Consequently, it can be argued that referring to the members of this genus as ant tanagers is misleading, but no other common name has gained usage.

<i>Habia</i> (bird) genus of birds

Ant tanagers are birds of the genus Habia. These are long-tailed and strong billed birds. The males have a red crest and plumage containing red, brown or sooty hues. Females may resemble the males or be largely yellowish or brown in colour. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), they are actually closer to Cardinalis in the Cardinalidae. Consequently, it can be argued that referring to the members of this genus as ant-tanagers is misleading, but no other common name has gained usage.

Amaurospiza is a genus of birds. The generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek amauros, meaning "dusky", and σπίζα (spíza), a catch-all term for finch-like birds.

<i>Chlorothraupis</i> genus of birds

Chlorothraupis is a genus of bird in the family Cardinalidae. It was long considered to be a member of the tanager family (Thraupidae), as their common names suggest, but this is false. They are close relatives of the habias or ant-"tanagers".

Crested ant tanager species of bird

The crested ant tanager is a songbird species. Though it was formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it is not actually a tanager. Today it is assigned to the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).

Sooty ant tanager species of bird

The sooty ant tanager is a species of bird in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae); formerly, it was placed with the true tanagers in the family Thraupidae.

Red-hooded tanager species of bird

The red-hooded tanager, is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it and other members of its genus are now classified in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). The species' plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family. Along with the red-headed tanager and white-winged tanager, it is sometimes placed in the genus Spermagra.

Cymbopetalum mayanum is a species of plant in family Annonaceae. The specific epithet mayanum refers to the Mayan region in which it is indigenous, specifically the Atlantic lowlands of Guatemala and Honduras. It grows as a tree. It is endangered due to habitat loss from agriculture.


  1. Yuri, T.; Mindell, D. P. (May 2002). "Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Fringillidae, "New World nine-primaried oscines" (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (2): 229–243. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00012-X. PMID   12069553.
  2. "Family: Cardinalidae". American Ornithological Society. Retrieved Feb 1, 2019.
  3. Duchesne, Bob (September 21, 2012). "Proliferation of cardinals a fairly recent event". Bangor Daily News . Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  4. Search "cardinalidae" at IUCN Red List Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine for more info.
  5. Levine, Rebecca S.; et al. (9 June 2016). "Supersuppression: Reservoir Competency and Timing of Mosquito Host Shifts Combine to Reduce Spillover of West Nile Virus". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Retrieved 25 August 2016.