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The northern cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 21–23.5 cm (8.3–9.3 in) and a wingspan of 25–31 cm (9.8–12.2 in). The adult weighs from 33.6–65 g (1.19–2.29 oz), with an average 44.8 g (1.58 oz).

The male averages slightly larger than the female. The adult male is a brilliant crimson red colour with a black face mask over the eyes, extending to the upper chest. The colour becomes duller and darker on the back and wings. The female is fawn, with mostly grayish-brown tones and a slight reddish tint on the wings, the crest, and the tail feathers.

    The northern cardinal is a territorial songbird. The male sings in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or another high location to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory. He may mistake his image on various reflective surfaces as an invading male and will fight his reflection relentlessly.


    Collections: Birds, Executive Office



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