Cardinal look-alike bird species are pyrrhuloxia, scarlet tanagers, vermilion flycatchers, phainopeplas, summer tanagers, and more. These birds have similarities, but they have differences too. And learning about them will allow you to identify avians better.
Cardinal Meaning and Symbolism
For many bird lovers, the sight of a cardinal holds special meaning, sometimes evoking emotional or spiritual feelings. They say the vibrant red bird is an uplifting, happy sign that those we have lost will live forever, so long as we keep their memory alive in our hearts.
The red-crested cardinal is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN because of its large range and estimated population size.
As it relates to red birds, the primary difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is the crown. The male cardinal is the only red bird with raised crown feathers that stands full and tall. Another difference between a red bird and the male cardinal is their size.
Measurements. In spring and summer, adult males are an unmistakable, brilliant red with black wings and tails. Females and fall immatures are olive-yellow with darker olive wings and tails. After breeding, adult males molt to female-like plumage, but with black wings and tail.
If there is any black on the face, around the bill and into the eye, it’s a Cardinal. If the face is red around the bill and into the eye, it’s a Pyrrhuloxia. If gray is a predominate color, it’s likely to be a Pyrrhuloxia.
The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is one of the most familiar red songbirds in North America, so familiar that it has been honored as the state bird of seven states. Male northern cardinals are brilliantly red all over with a contrasting black facial mask, and even the bill is red.
cardinal, also called redbird, any of various medium-size thick-billed species of songbirds of the New World, many with crested heads. The males all sport at least some bright red plumage.
Although lacking the brilliant red plumage of the male, the female cardinal has an elegant beauty all her own, with a warm, buffy tan color over her back, breast, and sides; red-orange on the wings, tail, and crown; and a blackish “mask.” Female cardinals also have a crest and a chunky red-orange bill, traits they …
Many people believe the sighting of a cardinal can be a sign of good luck, loyalty, or even a spiritual message. Native American lore states if a cardinal is seen, it is believed that individual will have good luck within 12 days of the sighting. Cardinals are incredibly loyal creatures.
Once prized a pet bird due to its stunning colors, it’s now illegal to own, harm, or kill one of these birds in the United States. Northern cardinals are now protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which also banned selling cardinals as caged birds.
Red-crested cardinals are monogamous and pairs mate for life. During the breeding season, birds remain exclusively in pairs.
8 Small Birds With Red Breasts (with Photos, ID & Info)- 1 House Finch.
2 Purple Finch.
3 Cassin’s Finch.
4 Common Linnet.
5 Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
6 Pine Grosbeak.
7 Vermilion Flycatcher.
8 Common Redpoll.
Adult male Summer Tanagers are entirely bright red. Females and immature males are bright yellow-green—yellower on the head and underparts and slightly greener on the back and wings.
The scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized American songbird. Until recently, it was placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), but it and other members of its genus are now classified as belonging to the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).
Male Scarlet Tanagers seem almost too bright and exotic for northeastern woodlands. These birds are fairly common in oak forests in summer, but they often remain out of sight as they forage in the leafy upper branches.
Small, nondescript brown bird with a short tail, thin bill, and dark barring on wings and tail with a paler throat.
Pyrrhuloxias are habitat specialists, so look for them in desert scrub of the Southwest, where they look (and sound) like crisp, gray-and-red cardinals. The short, curved, yellow bill and long crest are good points to distinguish it from the Northern Cardinal, which can also occur in the desert.
Eight Red Birds to Know in North America- 8) Northern Cardinal. Northern Cardinals are probably the first species North American birders imagine when they picture a red bird.
The bright red male Northern Cardinal is a bird with a red head, body and tail, with black around their faces. They are a great sight, especially against a white winter background.