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Pictures of Cardinals, Cardinal Facts

Pictures of the cardinal family, including the bright-red Northern Cardinal, several species of grosbeaks, and some tanagers.

The northern cardinal is a distinct-looking songbird found in the eastern half of North America, as well as Mexico. The male cardinal is a brilliant red with a notable crest on his head and a black mask on his face.As typical in nature, the female again gets the duller colors of the sexes. The female cardinal has a golden brown head and stomach and olive color back and wings. She also has the black mask on her face and a reddish colored crest on her head.  Baby cardinals resemble the female in coloring, but have a blackish bill instead of the female reddish bill.

Northern Cardinals are monogamous birds. The male, clearly raised well by a good mother, brings his female cardinal food while they are dating and often feeds her seeds beak-to-beak.  Cardinals also enjoy grains, fruits, insects and sap.

Cardinals have 2-4 sets of eggs, or broods, per year.  Each brood consists of 3-4 light green or blue eggs with specks of purple or brown. Babies stay in the nest only for about 10 days. Both parents feed the baby birds, but the male cardinal will often take on this job single handedly while the female begins incubating their next brood.

The Northern Cardinal is well-adapted to human habitats.  It can be found in almost any backyard feeder, mixing in with other flocks of birds and almost always found with its mate.  It used to be sold as a caged pet until the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 banned their sale and made it illegal to own or kill the birds.