These are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They
are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually
have distinctive appearances; the family is named for the red
plumage (like that of a Catholic cardinal's vestments) of males
of the type species, the Northern Cardinal.
The “buntings” in this family are sometimes generically known as “tropical buntings” (though not all live in the tropics) or “North American buntings” (though there are other buntings in North America) to distinguish them from the true buntings. Likewise the grosbeaks in this family are sometimes called “cardinal-grosbeaks” to distinguish them from other grosbeaks. The name “cardinal-grosbeak” can also apply to this family as a whole.
Cardinals mate in early spring. Their nests are loosely woven in tall bushes such as honeysuckle and rose. Their diet includes seeds and small berries.
This Cardinal Page is Copyright The Animal Web Guide © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub