skip to content

Cardinalis phoeniceus

Vermilion Cardinal

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Monotypic


Cardinalis phoeniceus

Colombia; 2 January 2008 © Juan D Ramirez Rpo

The Vermilion Cardinal is the most southerly member of the genus Cardinalis, and is also the most shockingly red of the three species. The male is a bright rosy red and, as if it were not noticeable enough, it has a long spikelike crest which is almost always held straight up. It is a fairly common species in dry desert scrub and dense thorny thickets along the Caribbean coasts of Venezuela and Colombia. The species is easiest to see in the cool of the early morning when males will perch conspicuously and sing their loud whistled song, which is quite similar to that of the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute — we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more

Recommended Citation

. 2010. Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map provided by Robert S. Ridgely.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Arid lowland scrub
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial
  • Foraging Behavior:Peck
  • Diet:Seeds
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 3 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern