Cardinal (bird)

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

Northern Cardinal Broadside.jpg
Male northern cardinal
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Cardinalidae
Ridgway, 1901


An American male cardinal feeds on a sunflower seed.
Cardinalis cardinalis - Northern Cardinal audio

The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in the tanager family Thraupidae. On the other hand, 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]

Species listEdit

(1) "Masked" clade:

Image Genus Living species
  Periporphyrus L. Reichenbach, 1850
  Caryothraustes L. Reichenbach, 1850
  Rhodothraupis Ridgway, 1898
  Cardinalis Bonaparte, 1838
  Piranga Vieillot, 1808

(2) "Blue" clade:

Image Genus Living species
  Amaurospiza Cabanis, 1861
  Cyanocompsa Cabanas, 1861
  Cyanoloxia Bonaparte, 1850
  Passerina Vieillot, 1816 North American buntings
  Spiza Bonaparte, 1824

(3) Ant tanager clade:

Image Genus Living species
  Habia Blyth, 1840
  Chlorothraupis Salvin & Godman, 1883

(4) "Chat" clade:

Image Genus Living species
  Granatellus Bonaparte, 1850

(5) "Pheucticus" clade:

Image Genus Living species
  PheucticusL. Reichenbach, 1850


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 cardinal family as a whole.

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


  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.

External linksEdit