1 Birds of North Carolina VOL 1 of 10 The Cardinal and more
"Morning Ya All!"-Male Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)-photo © 2012 Copyright ...by Earl T. Williams Jr. B.A., M.Div. on fence post. Northern Cardinals are a medium-sized songbird (approximately 8.75 inches in length) with short, rounded wings, a long tail, a heavy conical bill, and a crest. Males are nearly all brilliant red; brownish-gray-tinged scapular and back feathers give the upper parts a less colorful appearance. The coral red bill is surrounded by a mask of black that extends to a dark eye and includes the chin and throat. Legs and feet are dark red. The female is soft grayish brown on the back with variable areas of red on the tail, crest, and wings. The underparts are a warm pinkish brown. Her coral red bill is also surrounded by darker but not black feathers, so her mask is not as distinct as the male's. Females are slightly smaller than males.