CARDINALIDAE of North America

The Cardinalidae are a family of passerine birds found in North and South America. The family is comprised of buntings, cardinals, and grosbeaks. However, each of these categories of birds have similary named birds in other families. The birds of this family are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family ranges in size from 12-25 cm. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes are dimorphic - they usuaully have distinctive appearances.


Order Passeriformes    Family Cardinalidae

See the Fringillidae family for more grosbeaks.

Genus Cyanocompsa
The males of this genus are blue.

Bunting, Blue Cyanocompsa parellina  Found: southwest North America, northern Central America
The male has dark blue body; lighter blue forehead, malar (below eye), supercilium, rump.
Similar to: Blue Grosbeak. Blue Grosbeak has double wing bars; Blue Bunting does not. Female is plain brown.
Similar to: Indigo Bunting. Indigo Bunting has bicolored bill; Blue Bunting does not.
Image by: 1, 2) Stylurus - Nicaragua  3) Bill Bouton - Texas  4) Dominic Sherony Oaxaca, Mexico  
1) Female, 2, 3, 4) Male

Genus Pheucticus

Grosbeak, Black-headed Pheucticus melanocephalus   Found: west North America
The male Black-headed Grosbeak has a black head; black wings and tail with white patches;  orange breast, neck collar; yellow belly. The female has brown back, head, neck all with black streaks; white supercilium, wing bars; whitish breast when breeding; buffy breast when nonbreeding.
Similar to: Black-backed Grosbeak. Ranges do not overlap. Male Black-backed Grosbeak has a black breast; male Black-headed Grosbeak does not.
Similar to: Bullock's Oriole. Male Black-headed Oriole has more black on head than male Bullock's Oriole. Male Bullock's Oriole has more white on wings.
Similar to: Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Males easy to distinguish. Black-headed Grosbeak has bicolored bill; Rose-breasted Grosbeak does not.
Image by:  1) Steve  Ryan   2) Walter Siegmund  3) Peter Wallack - New Mexico  4) Rick Lecke    5) Alan D Wilson - Near Green Valley, Arizona  6) Velo Steve  7) Alan Vernon  8) Bill Bouton - California 
1) Baby  2) Female, nonbreeding  3, 4) Female, breeding   5 - 8) Male

Grosbeak, Rose-breasted   Pheucticus ludovicianus   Found: middle and east North America, South America
The breeding male Rose-breasted Grosbeak has black back, wings, head, neck, tail; 2 white wing patches; white underparts with rose-red breast patch. Nonbreeding male has mainly white breast; white supercilium, cheeks. Female has  dark gray-brown upperparts; white supercilium, throat; streaked buffy underparts.
Image by: 1) Norm Townsend - Oklahoma   2) Cephas - Quebec, Canada  3) Jerry Downs - Indiana   4) nebirdsplus  5) J J Harrison    6) New Jersy Birds  
1) Juvenile  2) Juvenile male  3, 4) Female  5, 6) Male

Grosbeak, Yellow  also  Mexican Yellow Grosbeak    Pheucticus chrysopeplus   Found: North America (vagrants) Mexico
The male Yellow Grosbeak has yellow back, head, underparts; black wings and tail with large whie spots. Female has olive upperparts with dark streaks on crown and back; smaller white marks on wings.
Image by:  1) Amy McAndrews - Mexico  2) Dick Daniels - Desert Museum aviary in Arizona  3) Arjan Haverkamp - Burgers Zoo, Arnhem, Netherlands  4) Tom Friedel - Miami Metrozoo    5) Dominic Sherony 
1) Female  2 - 4) Male

Genus Rhodothraupis - 1 species

Grosbeak, Crimson-collared  Rhodothraupis celaeno   Found: North America (southern Texas), Mexico
The male Crimson-collared Grosbeak has mainly dark plumage with crimson on the nape, crimson with black spots on lower breast and belly. Female has same dark areas; greenish upperparts; yellowish undeparts.
Similar to: Varied Bunting. Male Crimson-collared Grosbeak has a black head; male Varied Bunting have a blue forehead.
Image by: 1) jpc Raleigh   2) John Gerrard Keulemans 
1) Female  2) Male

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