Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal pair

Northern Cardinal pair

Length: 8.3 inches – 9.1 inches

Wingspan: 9.8 inches – 12.2 inches

Cardinals eat mainly seeds and fruit, with insect supplements. Fruits and seeds include dogwood, wild grape, buckwheat, grasses, sedges, mulberry, hackberry, and corn. They also eat beetles, crickets, katydids, leafhoppers, cicadas, flies, centipedes, spiders, butterflies, and moths.

Look for Northern Cardinals in dense shrubby areas such as forest edges, overgrown fields, hedgerows, backyards, marshy thickets, mesquite, regrowing forest, and ornamental landscaping. Cardinals nest in dense foliage and look for conspicuous, fairly high perches for singing. Growth of towns and suburbs across eastern North America has helped the cardinal expand its range northward. You’ll find the Northern Cardinal is widespread across the Midwest and Eastern United States.

The male cardinals are bright red in color, and the females are commonly a pale brown.