Ohio State Bird

Cardinal aka Winter Redbird

State Symbol: Ohio State Bird: Cardinal

(Cardinalis cardinalis)

Adopted in 1933.

The cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was approved by the General Assembly and adopted as the official state bird of Ohio on March 2, 1933.

A permanent resident of Ohio, the cardinal is known for its clear, strong song and brilliant plumage. The bird, (Cardinalis cardinalis,) commonly known as the "cardinal," is the official bird of the state of Ohio.

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

Ohio State Bird: Cardinal aka Winter Redbird

State Symbol: Ohio State Bird - Cardinal

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 four in this State.

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

Characteristics of the Cardinal


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.


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.

Ohio Revised Code

The law designating the cardinal as the official Ohio state bird is from Section 5.03 (Official state bird) more specifically of the Ohio Revised Code GENERAL PROVISIONS Chapter 5 (STATE INSIGNIA; SEALS; HOLIDAYS) Section 5.03.


§ 5.03. Official state bird.

The bird, cardinalis cardinalis, commonly known as the "cardinal," is the official bird of the state.

HISTORY: GC § 29-1; 115 v 35; Bureau of Code Revision. Eff 10-1-53.

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.