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Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis
Cardinal family (Cardinalidae)

A medium-sized songbird. Crest on head. Male is bright red with black face mask surrounding bill. Female is grayish brown with a reddish bill and pale gray to black face mask.

Forest edges and open areas.

Loosely constructed nest placed in dense shrubs, usually less than 10 feet above the ground. Eggs are buffy white with brown spots. Clutch size – 2 to 3 eggs.


Song is a series of clear repeated whistles that vary, like “whoit whoit whoit, cheer cheer cheer.”  All notes are very rich.  Call is a metallic “chip.

Name Origin:

The genus name Cardinalis is from the Latin for “important” from cardo, Latin for “the hinge of a door,” literally something upon which an object or an idea hinges or depends.  A cardinal is an important church official with a red hat and robe, hence the name of the bird with red plumage.

In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. State bird of Indiana. Common in the Nature Park.