how many cardinal birds are there

Cardinals are perching songbirds found in North and South America. There are three “true” cardinals belonging to the genus Cardinalis, although birds from the same family but a different genus are often referred to as cardinals. These birds have strong bills for eating seeds, and also display distinct differences in coloration between the sexes. Most cardinals are plentiful and not endangered in the wild, though some species are becoming threatened.

Of all the members of genus Cardinalis, this bird lives farthest south. It is endemic to the dry scrub deserts and subtropical areas along the northern coast of South America, particularly those in Venezuela and Columbia. Its song, sung by males in the early mornings to mark territory, is very similar to that of the northern cardinal. Vermilions have the brightest plumage of all cardinals; the male is a bright rose-red, and possesses the longest spiky crest common to all cardinals.

According to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, the male northern cardinal is responsible for more people becoming birdwatchers than any other bird. Because cardinals don’t migrate, they are available to watch year-round. Their bright red color also makes them stand out against snowy backgrounds, making them excellent birds to observe in the winter. Females of this species are a much duller brown in color, but still sport warm red or orange highlights in the wings, crest, and tail.

A medium-sized songbird reaching an average length for both sexes of around 8 inches, the desert cardinal (or pyrrhuloxia) inhabits the arid southwest of the United States and northern Mexico. Its short bill is perfect for cracking dried seeds. The greatest distinction between this bird and its northern cousin is coloration. Desert cardinals are predominantly brownish-gray, with a red breast much like a robin’s. They are territorial birds in breeding season, at which time males will aggressively stake out a range by singing and defend it from rivals.

This bird, Paroaria coronata, is commonly referred to as a cardinal but does not belong to the genus Cardinalis. A native of southern South America, this cardinal has been successfully introduced to other tropical and semi-tropical regions such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Red-crests are natural seed-eaters, but will also prey upon small insects and other arthropods they find near the ground. They share the distinctive red crest of other cardinals, which gives them their name, but are otherwise dull, with gray backs and white breasts.

Cassandra Mathers has been writing for eHow since 2009. She graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, earning a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and anthropology. She also holds an M.A. in political science from the University of London and is finishing her Ph.D. in Islamic anthropology. She specializes in religion, politics, culture and Islam.

7.2. Southern Yellow Grosbeak, Pheucticus chrysogaster

Golden grosbeak is another name for the southern yellow grosbeak.

how many cardinal birds are there

how many cardinal birds are there

The male has a black tail and black wings, and he is a bright yellow color. The female has dingy streaks and brown wings, with a dull yellow color. Both sexes have white spots on the wings and tail.

Distribution: Trinidad and Tobago and other northwest South American countries are home to it.

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical dry forests, montane forests, and shrublands. They also occur in degraded former forests.

11.2. Ultramarine Grosbeak, Cyanoloxia brissonii

how many cardinal birds are there

how many cardinal birds are there

The male has a glossy forehead, shoulders, cheeks, and supercilium. He is dark blue in color. The upper wings and tail are darker blue. The female is reddish-brown.

Distribution: Mostly in Central and Eastern South America, with a tiny northern population

Habitat: Swamps, secondary forests, forest plantations, and semi-open areas.

5.7. Orange-Breasted Bunting, Passerina leclancherii

how many cardinal birds are there

how many cardinal birds are there

The male has green crown, turquoise blue upperparts, and yellow lores, eye rings, and underparts. The female is grey-green above with yellow underparts.

Distribution: Endemic to Mexico.

Scrublands, thickets, brushy woodlands, scrubby clearings, and woodland edges make up the habitat of tropical dry forests.

The sole species in this genus is the blue bunting, Cyanocompsa parellina. Sometimes the genus Cyanocompsa is assigned to the blue-black grosbeak and the ultramarine grosbeak belonging to the Cyanoloxia genus.

how many cardinal birds are there

how many cardinal birds are there

Description: A small bird with a large, thick bill. With glossy blue highlights on the supercilium, forehead, cheeks, and shoulders, the male’s plumage is a rich shade of blue. The female is cinnamon brown.

Distribution: Southwest North America, and Northern Central America

Habitat: Tropical lowland forest understory and dry, brushy woodlands.


  • C. p. parellina: Eastern Mexico to Nicaragua
  • C. p. beneplacita (or lucida): North-eastern Mexico
  • C. p. indigotica: Western Mexico

The six species of grosbeaks that comprise the genus Pheuciticus They have stout, conical bills. A few species are black and yellow, like the rose-breasted grosbeak.


How many cardinal birds are in the world?

Cardinal Range Northern cardinals are non-migratory birds. Most cardinals live within a mile of where they were born. An estimated global breeding population of 120 million northern cardinals has been reported with the majority living in the Eastern United States, followed by Mexico and then Southern Canada.

Is it rare to see a cardinal?

Cardinals are abundant within their range. These birds are not migratory, so lucky residents of the eastern half of the U.S. get to enjoy these birds all year. They are the state bird of seven states.

What are the three types of cardinals?

The family consists of 14 genuses, which together comprise 53 species. The Cardinalis genus specifically consists of three species – the Northern cardinal, Vermillion cardinal, and Pyrrhuloxia – all of which are found in the eastern United Sates, southeastern Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.

Is there more than one cardinal?

As of 15 March 2024, there are 238 serving cardinals, of whom 129 are eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.