Northern Cardinal

Indiana State Bird


Northern cardinal (male)

Northern cardinal (male); photo by ehpien on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attributioin / no derivative works).

Official State Bird of Indiana

Indiana designated the northern cardinal (Richmondena Cardinalis Cardinalis) as official state bird in 1933. 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 Cardinal Facts

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.  All state birds



Gawky juvenille northern cardinal; it will mature into one of our most beautiful songbirds (state bird in 7 states). Photo by State Symbols USA. (use permitted with attribution).

gawky juvenille northern cardinal

Northern cardinal enjoying a bath; photo © James Ownby: My View of Nature (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Northern cardinal taking a bath

Female northern cardinal; photo © Brian Jorg / CritterZoneAnimal - Wildlife - Nature Stock Photography (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Female northern cardinal


HD Northern cardinals feeding baby birds FYV 1080 HD

Birding by Ear: Northern Cardinal Song