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Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata

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  • © Chris Wood

The Yellow Cardinal is prized as a songster and as a cage bird. Sadly it has decreased enormously in abundance in the last few decades. The thorn scrub and forest edge habitat this bird prefers has declined, but not to the level to blame habitat conversion for this species decline. The truth may be more insidious; the Yellow Cardinal is one of the few Neotropical birds that has had a massive and negative effect directly from the cage bird trade. Why this species is so susceptible is not clear, but trapping intensity for this bird has been high for many decades. The Yellow Cardinal is a gorgeous species; it is largely yellow and mid-sized with a long tail. The cardinal part of its name comes from the crest, as in a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). But unlike the true cardinal, the Yellow Cardinal is likely a tanager-finch, not in the Cardinalidae. Both sexes have a black crest and throat patch, with the male having a yellow eyebrow and malar stripe, and yellow underparts; above he is yellowish-olive and streaked. The female is similar except the facial stripes are white, and she has a grey breast and flanks, with yellow restricted to the belly.

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© Márcio Repenning

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/yelcar1