State Bird Of Kentucky

State Bird Of Kentucky

The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), commonly known as the red bird Is The Official State Bird Of Kentucky. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis was officially selected as the Kentucky State Bird by a Resolution of the Senate of Kentucky, the House of Representatives concurring, approved on February 26, 1926. Because of its striking colors and broad range, however, Kentucky isn’t the only state that names the cardinal as its official bird. It also holds the honor in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Identification General description:

The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird.

Size: 8 – 9 inches

Color: Male cardinals are bright red, with a black face and chin. State Bird Of Kentucky Females is gray-brown on the back, light tan on the breast, with bright pink highlights on the wings, tail, and crest. A female cardinal’s bill is bright orange-red. Sounds: The Kentucky State Bird Northern cardinal whistle sounds like whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit and what-cheer, what-cheer.  


Kentucky State Bird A cardinal nest is a bulky structure of vines, leave and twigs. It is often hidden in a thicket. The Northern Cardinal nest is usually within ten feet of the ground. Three to four Northern Cardinal eggs will hatch after twelve days, and the fledglings leave the nest when they’re between ten and twelve days old.

Food and Predators

Plant seeds and fruits comprise 90 percent of the cardinal’s food in the fall and winter, and 40 to 50 percent of their food in the summer.  A cardinal’s predators are hawks, squirrels and owls.

Habitat and range

State Bird Of Kentucky Cardinals is very adaptable. They are found in hardwood forest habitats, small rural and urban woodlots, farmstead, orchards, and urban backyards. They do best where there is thick, shrubby growth for them to nest and roost in.

Population and management

Kentucky State Bird Northern cardinals are common in Minnesota. As a breeding species, it spread from southeastern Minnesota into Minneapolis and west to Owatonna by the 1920s. Now it occupies much of the state.


Cool Facts

  • The female Northern Cardinal sings, often from the nest. The song may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male. 
  • The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.