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USA (national)

Illinois State Bird

Northern cardinal enjoying a bath - click to see all state birds
Northern cardinal enjoying a bath; photo © James Ownby: My View of Nature (used by permission). All state birds - National Bird.

Northern Cardinal

Northern cardinal video

Illinois schoolchildren selected the cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) as the State Bird of Illinois, made official in 1929 by the Illinois General Assembly. One of America's favorite backyard birds, cardinals are distinctive in appearance and song - known for their "cheer cheer cheer," "whit-chew whit-chew" and "purty purty purty" whistles.

Male cardinals are a brilliant scarlet red, females a buffy brown with reddish wings - both have a jet -black mask, pronounced crest, and heavy bill. The cardinal sings nearly year-round, and the male aggressively defends his 4-acre territory (male cardinals have been seen attacking small red objects mistaken as other males).

Northern cardinals breed 2-3 times each season. The female builds the nest and tends the hatchlings for about 10 days while the male brings food. The male then takes over the care of this first brood while the female moves on to a new nest and lays a second clutch of eggs.

The cardinal is the state bird of 7 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Female northern cardinal - click to see all state birds
Female northern cardinal photo © Brian Jorg /
CritterZone Animal - Wildlife - Nature Stock Photography
copyrighted image used by permission, contact CritterZone for usage license
Male northern cardinal - click to see all state birds
Male red cardinal photo from National Park Service
Source:
Illinois State Bird: Illinois State Museum
State of Illinois Facts - Symbols: State of Illinois
Links:
All State Birds - National Bird


    

 

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Northern Cardinal Video

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