Masked Cardinal is the northernmost of the Paroaria cardinals, and is distributed from eastern Colombia across northern Venezuela to Trinidad. Masked Cardinal is similar to its Amazonian counterpart, Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis), sharing with that species a red head, glossy blue black upperparts, and bright white underparts. Masked Cardinal differs, however, by having a distinct black mask across the sides of the head, and by having the throat entirely red. Masked Cardinal is less well known than is Red-capped Cardinal, but generally its habits are similar. It usually travels in pairs, and often occurs near water, along the edges of rivers and oxbow lakes, and also in mangroves, although Masked Cardinal is more tolerant of semiopen habitats on dry ground than is Red-capped Cardinal. The nest of Masked Cardinal is a cup, sited low in a marsh.