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Yellow-billed Cardinal

Yellow-billed cardinalOrder:  Passeriformes - songbirds

Family:  Emberizidae – buntings, finches, cardinals, and tanagers
Subfamily:  Cardinalinae - cardinals

Scientific Name:  Paroaria capitata


DescriptionThe yellow-billed cardinal is 3-6.5 inches long, with a red head and a black chin and throat.  The upperparts of the body are dark gray to black.  The nape and underparts are white.  It does not have a crest like other cardinals.  It has a pale yellow beak, and brownish-pink legs.  The female’s colors are duller than the male’s.


RangeHome Range:  South-central parts of South America (parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina).  They have been introduced to Hawaii, where they are now common.


Habitat Type:  They live at low altitudes in humid scrub, brush, thickets, and shrubbery, generally by water.


Reproduction:  They build open, cup-shaped nests.  Little other information is available.


Diet in the Wild:  Primarily seeds, sometimes fruit and buds


Diet in the Zoo:  Soft-billed bird diet, small bird maintenance, and chopped fruits and vegetables


General Information:  These birds are abundant around marshes, flooded grasslands, and along shores and lakes of rivers.  During the non-breeding season, they may gather in flocks numbering several hundreds.  Generally they are found in pairs or small groups, often feeding in the open on the ground.


Conservation Status:  This species is listed on CITES Appendix ll.


Predators:  No information available



The Birds of South America Vol. 1, The Oscine Passerines.  1989.  R.S. Ridgely and G. Tudor.  University of Texas Press, Austin.  p. 516.


A Guide to the Birds of South America.  1970.  R.M. de Schavensee.  Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.  p. 498.


South American Birds.  1987.  J.S. Dunning.  Harrowood Books, Newtown Square, PA.  p. 351.