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Red-crested Cardinal
Background information
Taxonomy Birds
Status Least Concern
Range South America
Habitat Rainforest
Feathers, fur Gray Body
White Chest
Red Head

Red-crested Cardinals are birds native to Brazil. They are much smaller then standard Cardinals. As the name suggests, their heads are covered in red feathers. The rest of their body has black and grey feathers. Pedro, a supporting character in Rio and Rio 2, is a Red-Crested Cardinal.


The Red-crested Cardinal (Thurapidae Paroaria) - as the name says - gets its common name from its distinctive red head and prominent crest. Adult's average size is around 7.5 inches (19.05 centimeters), with a dark grey upper body, white hindneck and underparts, bright red head, crest, and upper breast, silver-grey bill and dark legs. The juveniles' appearance are similar to the adult but with head crest and upper breast.[1]

Distribution and Habitat


Red-Crested Cardinal Distribution Area

The Red-crested Cardinals scatters throughout the mid-section of South America, covering southeastern Brazil, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. In nature, they inhabit in semi-open environment with scattered trees and shrubbery, especially near water. It was also introduced to the Hawaiian Islands around 1930.[1]

Social Interaction

Non-Breeding Season

The Red-Crested Cardinals are often found in pairs[1], small family groups[1] or even large flocks[2]

Breeding Season

During the annual breeding season, the birds stay exclusively in pairs. Male and female will maintain continuous contact through vocalizations.

Feeding and Diet

Red-crested Cardinals mainly feed on plant seeds, fruits, berries, and insects. The known insects that they feed are such as waxworms, mealworm, small cricket.[2] Red-crested Cardinals generally search for seeds and small arthropods on or near the ground.[3]

Mating and Reproduction

The Red-Crested Cardinal breeding season is between October and November of each year.[2] After mating, the cardinal pair will help together building their nest using small-size materials such as sticks, pine needles and pliable twigs, finalized by hemp string cut into 2 inches lengths and unraveled scattered about the flight.[2] A female cardinal lays from 2-5 eggs per one breeding season and they will hatch within 12-13 days of incubation. [1] The juveniles will leave their nest between 2-3 weeks after hatching.[2]


Main article: Red-crested Cardinal/Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Red-Crested Cardinal
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 [ Biological Profile – Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata, (Miller, 1776) by Josef Lindholm, Cameron Park Zoo]
  3. Overview - Red-crested Cardinal

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