The Northern Cardinal is an amazing and very pretty bird as all of us already know…
It is much admired and loved across the nation and is just so red that it has to be seen to be believed!
You may not know that the Cardinals are in fact a large family of different passerine birds that are found on both of the North and South American continents.
They are also know by their latin name of “Cardinalidae“. And the South America cardinals, which are in the genus of Paroaria are actually placed in a nother family called the “Thraupidae“. So that’s the scientific stuff over!
All these cardinal bird species are robust and seed eating birds and they all have developed strong bills to help them with this task. The family of these birds ranges in size quite considerably from the beautiful Orange Breasted Bunting (with a length of 12 cm and weighing 11.5 grams) up to the much larger Black Headed Saltator (at 25 cm long and weighing 85 grams).
The cardinals are normally to be found in their natural habitat of open woodland. Fortunately for us the two sexes normally have their own distinctive appearance making them easier to identify.
The cardinal bird family is named because of the bright red plumage of the Northern Cardinal, the most well-known of these birds. This color of our favorite cardinal bird got this name because it is like the color of the clothing often worn by a Catholic cardinal.
There are also “buntings” in this family of cardinals and these are sometimes generally known as the “tropical buntings” (despite the ovbious observation that not all of them actually live in the tropics) or alternatively the “North American buntings” ( once again there are many other buntings that also live in North America) and this terminology is really used just to distinguish them from all ther the “true buntings” that exisit in these regions with them.
In the same way the “grosbeaks” in this cardinal family are sometimes referred to as “cardinal grosbeaks” to clearly identify them from all the other grosbeak species that exist in the same environments. In fact the name of “cardinal-grosbeak” can also be applied on many occasions to this family as a whole!
Confused yet? Me too! But for those who understand and follow ornitholgy (the study of birds!) this will make perfect sense, but for the rest of us it’s just good to lnow that there are so many different types of cardinal bird thriving on our planet!
Filed under: Northern Cardinal