Pyrrhuloxia

Silhouette CardinalsCardinals

Pyrrhuloxia

Cardinalis sinuatus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Cardinalidae
Basic Description

Dapper in looks and cheerful in song, the Pyrrhuloxia is a tough-as-nails songbird of baking hot deserts in the American Southwest and northern Mexico. They’re closely related to Northern Cardinals, but they are a crisp gray and red, with a longer, elegant crest and a stubby, parrotlike yellow bill. During breeding season Pyrrhuloxias are fiercely and vocally territorial, but in the winter they forget their disputes and join together in large foraging flocks.

More ID Info
image of range map for PyrrhuloxiaRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Pyrrhuloxias are habitat specialists, so look for them in desert scrub of the Southwest, where they look (and sound) like crisp, gray-and-red cardinals. The short, curved, yellow bill and long crest are good points to distinguish it from the Northern Cardinal, which can also occur in the desert.

Other Names
  • Cardenal Pardo (Spanish)
  • Cardinal pyrrhuloxia (French)

Backyard Tips

Pyrrhuloxias come to backyards for seeds, particularly sunflower; it’s more likely to feed from ground feeders or from scattered or discarded seeds than visit elevated feeders. They may also feed from native, fruit-bearing shrubs or cacti. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts