Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinal male and female for identification

The bright red male Northern Cardinal with black around their faces is an incredible sight, especially against a white winter background. They also have red crests and beaks.

Females are also a little showy with their brown coloring, sharp brown crest, red highlights, and red beaks.

  • Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in (21-23 cm)
  • Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz (42-48 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm)


Northern Cardinals live in the Eastern half of the US and some states in the south as far west as Arizona.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Northern Cardinals in dense vegetation foraging for seeds, fruit, and insects.

Northern Cardinal Song:

Northern Cardinal Call:


Nests of Northern Cardinals are usually in small trees or shrubs and are built by the females, with males helping to bring material. The nest is made from twigs and lined with several layers of softer material.

They lay up to five eggs, which take around twelve days to hatch and the young take a further week or two to leave the nest.

Attract Northern Cardinals

Attract them to your backyard with feeders full of sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo. They will feed from large tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders, or food scattered on the ground.

Fun fact:

Northern Cardinals will sometimes attack their own reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories.