• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Red-crested Cardinal - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Waimea Canyon, Kauai County, Hawaii, USA, 8 January 2020

Alternative name: Brazilian Cardinal

Paroaria coronata


Photo © by Neil Grubb
Kaua'i, Hawaiian Islands, 31 May 2005

19 cm (7½ in)

  • Dark grey
  • White neck and underparts
  • Bright red head, crest and upper breast
  • Silvery-grey bill
  • Dark legs

Sexes similar
Juveniles: brown head, crest and upper breast with a dark bill


South America: found from Bolivia to central Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and extreme south-eastern Brazil.

Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands around 1930. Common on most of the main islands, except for Hawaii Island where no established wild populations are confirmed and it may only exist as occasionally escaped cage birds.


This bird is not actually a Cardinal (Cardinalidae) but recently transferred from the Sparrows (Emberizidae) to the Tanagers (Thraupidae) along with five other "Cardinals" in the genus Paroaria (SACC Proposal 276). Despite similarities it is not closely related to the familiar Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) which is a member of the Cardinal/Grosbeak family (Cardinalidae).


This is a monotypic species[1].


Shrubs, trees, parks, dry forests



The clutch consists of 2-5 greenish eggs with evenly spread brown marks, incubated by the female for 12-13 days.


The diet includes seeds, plant matter, insects, and fruit. It is a ground feeder.


The typical song is sweet, melodious and slowly delivered, often a repetitive series of alternating notes. Call is a nasal rising note.




  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Jaramillo, A. (2020). Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/62099 on 24 January 2020).
  3. Linn, A., K. J. Burns, and C. H. Richart (2015). Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.reccar.01
  4. Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (1 January 2017) http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph/
  5. Wikipedia contributors. (2020, January 1). Red-crested cardinal. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:28, January 26, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Red-crested_cardinal&oldid=933567804
  6. Red-crested Cardinal in National Finch and Softbill Society

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1