Characteristics and living habits of North American cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis (scientific name: cardinalis cardinalis): medium in size, 24 cm in length, 25-31 cm in wingspan and 42-48 g in weight. The male is bright red with a black face extending to the upper chest. The back and wings are the most dark color. The female is grayish brown, with red colors on her wings, crown and tail feathers. Male and female are heteromorphic, with feather crowns. The scientific meaning of cardinal is the cardinal of the Catholic Church, because the cardinal has an obvious red robe and hat. The crown like proud spike shaped crown and flaming feathers are very eye-catching. It is one of the most beautiful and dazzling birds in the world.


resident bird. It inhabits woodland, garden, jungle and swamp. They mainly eat grain, insects and fruits. Male birds are territorial and will be delimited by singing. It is distributed in southern Canada, from Maine to Texas in the eastern United States, down to Mexico in the south, and also on the big island of Hawaii and Oahu Island.
morphological character
The North American cardinal is of medium size, with a body length of 24 cm, a wingspan of 25-31 cm and a weight of 42-48 G. The male is bright red with a black face extending to the upper chest. The back and wings are the most dark color. The female is grayish brown, with red colors on her wings, crown and tail feathers. The female’s face is gray to black, but not very obvious. The beak is fresh coral, conical and very strong. The color of young birds is like that of adult female birds. In winter, they will change their feathers and become adult birds. The baby has a brown upper body, a reddish brown lower body, and a brick red chest, forehead, wings and tail. The feet are dark pink brown.
Male and female are heteromorphic, with a feather crown. There are black feathers around the male beak, while there are gray feathers around the female beak. The male is bright red, the face is black, extending to the upper chest, the back and wings are dark, the female is gray brown, and there are red colors on the wings, crown and tail feathers. The towering red crest and red body feathers are integrated into one, forming a very strong contrast with the black of the cheeks, which makes this kind of bird very photogenic.
The iris is brown. The color of the main feathers of male birds comes from the carotenoid red and yellow pigments they eat. Male birds metabolize carotenoid pigments to produce main feather color. When eating only foods with yellow pigment, they will become lighter red rather than yellow.
Habitat
North American Cardinals inhabit in open woodland mixed with shrubs, shrubs and small trees, forest edges, shrubs in abandoned agricultural land, secondary forests and gardens in urban suburbs. Settlement in Yucatan Peninsula is limited to mangroves along the coast. In Northern Ontario, Canada, people like to nest in dense bushes, and the density is higher in the suburbs of Ottawa. It is distributed throughout the United States, with an altitude from sea level to 2000 meters and less than 1100 meters in the Bahamas.
Living habits
North American Cardinals have a strong sense of territory. The male bird will protect the site with clear singing at the top of the tree or other heights, and will chase other male birds entering the site. However, many of them will see their reflection as an invading male bird and fight it. After mating, the couple will go in and out together. The calls of North American cardinals in different regions are also different. Its sex can be easily distinguished by its cry alone. North American Cardinals have a very special alarm sound, that is, a very short metal sound.
Cardinals mainly eat weeds, crops and fruits. They look for food on the ground. They also eat beetles, grasshoppers, snails, wild fruits and strawberries, corn and oats, sunflower seeds, elm bark and flowers, and drink Maple juice.
It mainly consumes plant substances, accounting for more than 70% of the food in the whole year. Chicks almost completely eat small invertebrates, accounting for about 95% of the diet. According to a study conducted in 20 states in the United States, except Ontario, people described the food menu in detail: berries and other plants accounted for 34%. Among the invertebrates are beetles, locusts, butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), wasps and flies (Diptera). It also occasionally feeds on red slugs and snails of Gastropoda. In Florida, especially in winter, they also eat nectar containing flowers. In Hawaii, I like to eat the juice of Winged termites and stinging wasps.
Cardinals are the prey of a variety of native predators in North America, including chicken eagles, dumbheaded shrimps, gray shrimps, gray squirrels, long eared owls and East American horned owls. Milk snakes, American black swimming snakes, crested blue crows, fox squirrels and East American Chipmunks also prey on their chicks and eggs.
Distribution range
Origin: Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, United States.
Traveller: Cayman Islands.
Uncertain origin: Honduras.

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