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Northern Cardinal Range Map

Common Name: Northern Cardinal
Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Migration: Non-migratory; does not migrate.


Northern cardinals are the cardinal species with the most northern range in the Western Hemisphere, and their bold red plumage readily stands out in the dense, shrubby forest edges, marshes, and urban and suburban parks, gardens and backyards where they are found. They prefer damp habitats rather than excessively dry areas, and can frequently be found in dense foliage foraging in low to mid-levels for insects.

They also often feed on the ground below shrubbery, and readily visit bird-friendly backyards where black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and fresh water are available. In higher elevations of their range, they may head for lower habitats in winter when deep snow and extreme cold make finding food difficult, but they do not typically migrate.

Northern cardinals have been introduced in both Hawaii and Bermuda (not shown on map), where regular populations can be seen. In recent years, studies of northern cardinals have shown their northern range to be expanding. This is believed to be the result of climate change and winters with less snowfall as well as the growing popularity of backyard birding that provides a steady food source even in poor weather.

For more information, see the complete northern cardinal profile.

North America outline map ©

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