YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL (Paroaria capitata) Introduced
DESCRIPTION: The Yellow-billed Cardinal has a yellow-orange conical bill and legs of the same color. It does not have a crest. Its head is bright red and the throat is black. The under parts are white and the back, wings and tail medium grey. Sexes are similar. Juveniles have a brown-orange head and brown top parts. This bird is about 6 inches (15 cm) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Cardinal’ is a misnomer because this species belongs to the tanager family, not the cardinal one. It was given likely because of its bright red head. The Latin genus name ‘Paroaria’ is from the Tupi language, and the species name ‘capitata’ means ‘forming a dense head’.
HABITAT: Scrubland, forest edges, urban environments, often near water.
DIET: Seeds, insects, fruit and flowers.
NESTING: The nest is a bowl-shaped structure made of small sticks and fibers. It is located in a tree or shrub not far from the ground. About 3 spotted green eggs are laid.
DISTRIBUTION: Native to South America, introduced in the 1970s to Hawaii along the Kona coast of the Big Island.
CONSERVATION: Because of its large range and no known threats, this species is of ‘least concern’. It has well adapted to human presence and thrives in urban environments.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Red-crested Cardinal
Here are yellow-billed cardinals foraging for seeds on a street:
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