- Vermilion Cardinal
 - Vermilion Cardinal
 - Vermilion Cardinal
 - Vermilion Cardinal

Vermilion Cardinal Cardinalis phoeniceus Scientific name definitions

Adriana Rodríguez-Ferraro
Version: 2.0 — Published February 23, 2024
Revision Notes

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The Vermilion Cardinal is the only South American representative of the charismatic Cardinalis genus, which also includes the Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) and Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). Of these three species, the Vermilion Cardinal is perhaps the most superlative; males are shockingly red, while females are white around the bill, grayish on the head and upperparts, and warm tan on the underparts. Both sexes have vibrant-red, spike-like crests, and stout, conical horn-gray bills.

Endemic to the Caribbean coast of Venezuela and Colombia, the Vermilion Cardinal is a year-round resident of semi-arid scrub. It is a fairly common species and it is frequently observed perched conspicuously atop cacti or in the upper branches of shrubs. Although classified by the IUCN as Least Concern, it is declining, largely due to the demand for males in the illegal caged-bird trade. It is also threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to sand mining, cattle ranching, agriculture, and charcoal production. While it occurs in several protected areas in Colombia and Venezuela, effective conservation measures and habitat management will become critical to protect this distinctive species across its range.

Distribution of the Vermilion Cardinal - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Vermilion Cardinal

Recommended Citation

Rodríguez-Ferraro, A. (2024). Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (F. Medrano and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.vercar1.02
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