Kentucky State Bird

Cardinal (Redbird)

State Symbol: Kentucky State Bird: Cardinal - Redbird

(Cardinalis cardinalis)

Adopted on February 26, 1926; Recodified 1942.

The cardinal, (Cardinalis cardinalis,) commonly known as the Redbird, became state bird of the Commonwealth of Kentuky during the legislative session in 1926 [KY Acts, Chapter 350, Senate Resolution No. 17 and approved on February 26, 1926.; re-codified in 1942 (KRS 2.080)].

Kentucky's State bird, the cardinal, is shared by six other states. These are Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Kentucky State Bird: Cardinal

State Symbol: Kentucky State Bird - Cardinal

The Cardinal is a type of finch that can be found in gardens, streamside thickets, mesquite patches, and woodlands throughout the east and southwest sections of the United States. Male northern cardinals are bright red medium sized birds with head crests, black bibs and masks and cone-shaped reddish bills. Females are light brown with reddish wings.

Characteristics of the Cardinal (Redbird)


Their distinctive color (scarlet for males, buffy brown and red for females), pronounced crest, heavy bill, and easily recognizable song make cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) some of the most readily identified birds in the state.


Cardinals build their nests in bushes. Their nests are usually about 1.5 meters (4 to 5 ft.) above the ground. The eggs are laid between the middle of April and the middle of August. Cardinals usually lay several clutches of eggs each season. Each clutch consists of between two and five whitish eggs with dark streaks and spots on them.

Food Habits

Cardinals usually feed on the ground or in low bushes. They eat a wide variety of insects, grains, wild fruits, and seeds. They are common birds around bird feeders.


Redbird or Winter Redbird

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.

Kentucky Revised Statutes

The law designating the cardinal as the official Kentucky state bird is from Section 2.080 (State bird) of the the Kentucky Revised Statutes, Title 1 (SOVEREIGNTY AND JURISDICTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH) Chapter 2 (CITIZENSHIP, EMBLEMS, HOLIDAYS, AND TIME) Section 2.080.

SECTION 2.080.

2.080 State bird.

The native redbird, commonly known as the Kentucky cardinal (cardinalis), is the official state bird of Kentucky.

Effective: October 1, 1942
History: Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 4618n.

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.