The Yellow Cardinal: A Sweet and Melodious Singer

March 29, 2019
The yellow cardinal is one of those birds that doesn't go unnoticed, and this has become a problem for this rare specimen.

All the yellow cardinal’s problems stem from his beautiful singing and eye-catching color. This makes this animal one of the most sought-after cage birds among bird lovers. However, it’s actually illegal to own a specimen.

Its population has been decreasing in recent decades, which sadly means that it’s now considered a seriously endangered species. Watching them in the wild is quite a spectacle, but sightings are becoming few and far between these days.

Stylish and refined

Unfortunately, being only 8 inches long, it’s an ideal bird to display in a cage. This is one more reason for it to be one of the most sought-after birds in the world.

The male’s feathers exhibit a yellow color with a greenish touch and blackish brush-like strokes. Nevertheless, what most catches our attention about his look is his striking black crest. Females, as often occurs, show less vivid colors. They have shades of gray and black, but of a similar size and the same cone-shaped beak.

The yellow cardinal has a characteristic crest which lifts or lowers according to its mood. In addition, males also use it to court the females. During flight, the cardinal keeps its crest in a low position to improve aerodynamics. In the same way, it will lower it when it feels threatened. It’s clearly an indicator of its state of mind.

A posing yellow cardinal.
Source: https://alvearmendoza.gob.ar/alvear-un-refugio-del-cardenal-amarillo-y-el-aguila-coronada/

The yellow cardinal’s habitat

Until a few decades ago, it was common to find the yellow cardinal in large areas of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. However, with massive uncontrolled catching, its population has been reduced to small areas of southern Brazil, northern Argentina and part of Uruguay.

The areas that this small bird likes the most are the open forests and savannahs. His tireless search for food makes him venture on the ground a lot. However, the most common thing is to find him perched on trees and shrubs. This little bird is always alert and in search of something to fill his stomach with.

Feeding and reproduction

Although they have a very varied diet, most of it is made up of seeds, insects and larvae. Like most small birds, it’s very opportunistic. It usually frequents roads and parks to get food. However, it bothers no one, as it brightens any moment with its melodious singing.

A yellow cardinal between the branches of a tree.

The yellow cardinal covers large areas looking for food. This vivacity is what makes it suffer a lot when captured. It’s definitely not a bird that can tolerate life inside a cage very well.

The cardinal’s reproduction cycle is a very delicate affair. The bird needs a quiet, suitable conditions to carry it out successfully. If the environment is ideal, the female can lay from two to four eggs of a beautiful greenish color, striped with black speckles.

What the future holds for the yellow cardinal

Pesticides and increased cultivation areas in places where cardinals used to nest have also dented the population of this unique species. The bird is currently under protection in order to try to repopulate areas where these songbirds are no longer seen.

Capturing this bird is also legally forbidden throughout South America. However, its recovery will be slower than expected. It’s a species that needs several specific conditions in order to reproduce successfully.

Only time will tell if this small passerine bird will be capable of recovering the population it had until only 30 years ago. This is something that certainly every bird lover is longing for.

Featured image source| http://www.todociencia.com.ar/aves-geneticamente-custodiadas/