Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Amanda Linn, Kevin J. Burns, and Casey H. Richart


Distribution of the Red-crested Cardinal
eBird range map for Red-crested Cardinal

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Red-crested Cardinal occurs innorthern and eastern Bolivia (north to Santa Cruz and southern Beni), southwestern and southern Brazil (southwest to Mato Grosso in the Pantanal region and south to Rio Grande do Sul), western and central Paraguay (to the Paraguay River), Uruguay, and northern Argentina (south to north Mendoza, central to La Pampa and Buenos Aires) (Short 1975, Ridgely et al. 1989, Sick 1993, Jaramillo and de Juana 2014). It occurs throughout the Chaco region of Paraguay, except for the northern fringe (Paraguay-Bolivian border), and its range extends west, south, and southwest from the Chaco (Short 1975). It commonly is kept in captivity; escapees have been found in São Paulo city parks (Ridgely and Tudor 2009), in Caracas, Venezuela (Sick 1993), in Santiago, Chile (Iriarte et al. 2005), in Lima, Peru (Jaramillo and de Juana 2014), in Puerto Rico (American Ornithologists' Union 1998), and in south Florida (Long 1981). Red-crested Cardinal is nonmigratory (Short 1975). The center of elevational abundance is in the lower tropical zone (Parker et al. 1996). It occurs at elevations from sea level up to 500 m (Ridgely et al. 1989). This species occurs in the following Zoogeographic Regions: Central South America and Pampas (Parker et al. 1996).

Distribution outside the Americas

On the Hawaiian islands, Red-crested Cardinal was introduced to Oahu in 1928, and is common to widespread on Oahu while less common on Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii (Moulton and Pimm 1983, Pratt et al. 1987, Koopman and Pitt 2007). It occurs mostly in the lowlands (Jaramillo and de Juana 2014), disturbed habitats below 600 m in elevation (Moulton 1985), and in urban parks (Moulton and Ferris 1991). Breeding populations, descended from escaped cage birds, also have been reported in central Honshu, Japan, and in Taiwan (Brazil 2009).


Red-crested Cardinal is common to locally abundant in semiopen areas with shrubs and scattered trees; it often occurs close to water sources such as rivers, marshes, and lakes, but is not restricted to them (Ridgely et al. 1989, Perlo 2009). It also cam be found along shrubby zones, the chaco woodlands (Short 1975), savannahs mixed with higher vegetation (Sick 1993), thorny woodlands, open areas of the pampas, agricultural areas, parks, towns, and cities (Jaramillo and de Juana 2014). Although it mainly lives in open areas and borders, during the breeding season it can be found more in the dense forest, but still extensively uses the open areas and pastures adjacent to the forest (Segura and Arturi 2012). Parker et al. (1996) list the primary habitat as arid lowland scrub. Additional habitats used by this species include second-growth scrub (Parker et al. 1996).

Historical changes

Changes in the South American distribution include introductions to areas outside its native range including Venezuela, Peru, and Chile. Recent changes in distribution outside the Americas include introductions in Hawaii in 1928 (Moulton and Pimm 1983, Ridgely and Tudor 2009), in south Florida in the 1930’s (Long 1981), and in central Japan and Taiwan (Brazil 2009).

Fossil history

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Linn, A., K. J. Burns, and C. H. Richart (2015). Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.