RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (paroaria coronata) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Red-crested Cardinal is part of the tanager family, not the cardinal family in spite of its name. The head, crest and throat are bright red in adults, dull red in juveniles. The nape, breast and under parts are white, while the back, wings and tail are grey. The bill is yellowish and the legs and feet are grey. Sexes are similar. This bird is about 8 inches (20 cm) long. by a white collar and white undersides. The back and wings are grey, and the bill is yellow.
NAME: The English name refers to the adult head and crest color. The Latin genus name ‘Paroaria’ is from the Tupi language, and the species name ‘coronata’ refers to the bird’s crest.
HABITAT: Native habitat includes dry scrubland and degraded forests. On Hawaii it is common in parks in urban areas.
DIET: The red-crested cardinal forages on the ground mainly for seeds, but also for invertebrates.
NESTING: The nest is an open bowl built in a tree and made of vegetal material and animal hair. Around three spotty green eggs are laid.
DISTRIBUTION: The native range of the red-crested cardinal is South America. Individuals from Brazil were introduced to Hawaii around 1930, and is now widespread in that state. It also has been introduced to other areas such as Puerto Rico, Florida and Japan.
CONSERVATION: The red-crested cardinal is listed as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN thanks to its large population and range. One threat is its illegal trade as a cage bird.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Yellow-billed Cardinal
Here’s a video of the same two birds enjoying their bath in a small puddle of the parking lot at the Aiea Trail in Honolulu:
This video below shows red-crested cardinals foraging for seeds in a popular park in Waikiki:
This red-crested cardinal didn’t seem to appreciate the approaching presence of a Pacific Golden plover while it was taking a bath:
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