Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - HBW 16, p. 408

French: Cardinal rouge German: Rotkardinal Spanish: Cardenal Norteño
Other common names: (Common) Cardinal, Redbird; Long-crested Cardinal (carneus)

Taxonomy: Loxia cardinalis Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina, USA.
Has in the past been placed in a separate genus, Richmondena. Forms a superspecies with C. phoeniceus; relationship of these two to C. sinuatus the subject of varying opinions. One documented example of a wild-bred hybrid between present species and C. sinuatus, and hybridization in captivity reported. In captivity has hybridized also with Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) and Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata), to neither of which species is it closely related, both being currently placed in family Emberizidae. Races fall into four groups b.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Loxia cardinalis Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina, USA.
Has in the past been placed in a separate genus, Richmondena. Forms a superspecies with C. phoeniceus; relationship of these two to C. sinuatus the subject of varying opinions. One documented example of a wild-bred hybrid between present species and C. sinuatus, and hybridization in captivity reported. In captivity has hybridized also with Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) and Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata), to neither of which species is it closely related, both being currently placed in family Emberizidae. Races fall into four groups based largely on colour of face mask of females, namely “cardinalis group” (comprising nominate, floridanus, magniros­tris and canicaudus), “coccineus group” (coccineus, littoralis, yucatanicus, phillipsi, flammiger and saturatus), “igneus group” (igneus, superbus, townsendi, affinis, sinaloensis, mariae, seftoni and clintoni) and single-species “carneus group”. In E Mexico, race coccineus intergrades with canicaudus in N coastal Veracruz and yucatanicus intergrades with phillipsi in S Yucatán Peninsula. Race carneus sometimes treated as a full species; conversely, sinaloensis treated by many authors as synonym of affinis, and floridanus sometimes subsumed into nominate. S USA populations in C Oklahoma, S Arkansas, SC Texas, all of Louisiana and SW Mississippi included in magnirostris, but some may belong with another race or represent as yet undescribed race(s). Nineteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • superbus Ridgway, 1885 - SW USA (extreme SE California E through Arizona to SW New Mexico) S to NW Mexico (N Sonora).
  • townsendi (van Rossem, 1932) - Tiburón I and adjacent coastal Sonora, in W Mexico.
  • affinis Nelson, 1899 - WC Mexico (SE Sonora, SW Chihuahua, Sinaloa and W Durango).

     See all 19 subspecies
  • superbus Ridgway, 1885 - SW USA (extreme SE California E through Arizona to SW New Mexico) S to NW Mexico (N Sonora).
  • townsendi (van Rossem, 1932) - Tiburón I and adjacent coastal Sonora, in W Mexico.
  • affinis Nelson, 1899 - WC Mexico (SE Sonora, SW Chihuahua, Sinaloa and W Durango).
  • sinaloensis Nelson, 1899 - W Mexico (C & S Sinaloa S to Michoacán).
  • mariae Nelson, 1898 - Tres Marías Is (María Madre, María Magdalena and María Cleofas), off Nayarit, in W Mexico.
  • seftoni (Huey, 1940) - C Baja California (between c. 28° N and 27° N), in NW Mexico.
  • igneus S. F. Baird, 1860 - Baja California S of c. 27° N.
  • clintoni (Banks, 1963) - Cerralvo I, off SE Baja California.
  • carneus (Lesson, 1842) - W coast of Mexico from Colima S to Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
  • cardinalis (Linnaeus, 1758) - most of E half of USA and SE Canada from SE South Dakota S to E Oklahoma and C Louisiana, E to Atlantic coast (except SE Georgia and peninsular Florida).
  • floridanus Ridgway, 1896 - SE Georgia and peninsular Florida (SE USA).
  • magnirostris Bangs, 1903 - S USA from S Texas and C Oklahoma E to S Arkansas, Louisiana and SW Mississippi.
  • canicaudus Chapman, 1891 - W Oklahoma and C & W Texas S to C & E Mexico (from Coahuila S to E Jalisco, Guanajuato, C San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo).
  • coccineus Ridgway, 1873 - Atlantic slope of E Mexico in E San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, (except extreme S), NE Puebla and N Oaxaca.
  • littoralis Nelson, 1897 - lowlands of S Veracruz and Tabasco (SE Mexico).
  • yucatanicus Ridgway, 1887 - base of Yucatán Peninsula, in SE Mexico.
  • phillipsi Parkes, 1997 - coastal scrub of Yucatán.
  • flammiger J. L. Peters, 1913 - SE Mexico (C & S Quintana Roo), NE Belize and N Guatemala (Petén).
  • saturatus Ridgway, 1885 - Cozumel I (off NE Quintana Roo).