Indiana State Bird

Northern Cardinal (Winter Redbird)

State Symbol: Indiana State Bird: Cardinal

(Cardinalis Cardinalis)

Adopted in 1933.

The northern cardinal (Winter Redbird), (Cardinalis Cardinalis,) was adopted as the state bird of Indiana by an act of the Indiana General Assembly of the State of Indiana on March 2, 1933 as proposed by Senate Bill No. 160.

The northern cardinal is also the state bird for six other states. These are Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

 Indiana State Bird: Cardinal (Winter Redbird)

State Symbol: Indiana State Bird - Cardinal

Cardinals, in the family Cardinalidae, are passerine birds found in North and South America. They are also known as cardinal-grosbeaks and cardinal-buntings. The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in another family, the Thraupidae (previously placed in Emberizidae).

Characteristics of the Cardinal

The male of the species is a rich scarlet with a mask and shading of black, while the young birds and females are a less brilliant color. The cardinal measures approximately eight inches long and is found from New York state to the Gulf of Mexico and as far west as Oklahoma. Its scientific name is Cardinalis cardinalis.

The Cardinal is sometimes called the Winter Redbird because it is most noticeable during the winter when it is the only "redbird" present. The Cardinal is one of the most common birds in our gardens, meadows, and woodlands. The male Cardinal is red all over, except for the area of its throat and the region around its bill which is black; it is about the size of a Catbird only with a longer tail. The head is conspicuously crested and the large stout bill is red. The female is much duller in color with the red confined mostly to the crest, wings, and tail. This difference in coloring is common among many birds. Since it is the female that sits on the nest, her coloring must blend more with her natural surroundings to protect her eggs and young from predators. There are no seasonal changes in her plumage.

The Cardinal is a fine singer, and what is unusual is that the female sings as beautifully as the male. The male generally monopolizes the art of song in the bird world.

The nest of the Cardinal is rather an untidy affair built of weed stems, grass and similar materials in low shrubs, small trees or bunches of briars, generally not over four feet above the ground. The usual number of eggs set is three in the South and four in the North. Possibly the Cardinal raises an extra brood down in the South to make up the difference, or possibly the population is more easily maintained here by the more moderate winters compared to the colder North.

The Cardinal is by nature a seed eater, but he does not dislike small fruits and insects.

History of the Cardinal

The cardinal was named by early American settlers, after Catholic cardinals who dress in bright red robes. These birds are strongly territorial and have a loud, whistling song.

Indiana Senate Bill No. 160

The red bird, or cardinal, was adopted as the State bird of Indiana by an act of the Indiana General Assembly of the State of Indiana on March 2, 1933 as proposed by Senate Bill No. 160. The act read, in part:

"Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That the bird commonly known as the red bird or cardinal (Richmondena cardinalis cardinalis) is hereby adopted and designated as the official state bird of the State of Indiana."

Indiana Law

The law designating the Cardinal as the official Indiana state bird is Section IC 1-2-8-1 (Cardinal) of the Indiana Code, Title 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Article 2 (STATE EMBLEMS) Chapter 8 (STATE BIRD) Section 1-2-8-1.


IC 1-2-8-1 Cardinal.

Sec. 1. The bird commonly known as the Red Bird or Cardinal (Richmondena Cardinalis Cardinalis) is hereby adopted and designated as the official state bird of the state of Indiana.
(Formerly: Acts 1933, c.223, s.1.)

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Cardinal

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Aves - birds
Order: Passeriformes - perching birds
Family: Fringillidae - buntings, finches, grosbeaks, old world finches, sparrows
Genus: Cardinalis Bonaparte, 1838 - cardinals
Species: Cardinalis cardinalis (Linnaeus, 1758) - Cardenal rojo, northern cardinal

Official State Birds
US map : Birds & Flowers
State Bird:Bird selected (by the legislature) as an emblem of a State.