Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)


[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Cardinalidae | [latin] Cardinalis sinuatus | [UK] Pyrrhuloxia | [FR] Cardinal rose du Texas | [DE] Schmalschnabel-Kardinal | [ES] Cardenal torito | [NL] Grijze Kardinaal


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Caryothraustes sinuatus
Cardinalis sinuatus NA, MA sw USA, Mexico
Cardinalis sinuatus fulvescens
Cardinalis sinuatus peninsulae
Cardinalis sinuatus sinuatus

Physical charateristics

Male: A slender, gray and red bird, with a crest and a yellow,
stubby, almost parrotlike bill. The rose-colored breast and crest suggest a Cardinal, but the gray back and yellow bill set it apart. Female: Note the yellow bill.
The gray back, buff breast, and touch of red in the wings and crest separate it from the female Cardinal, which is browner with a reddish bill.

Listen to the sound of Pyrrhuloxia


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 27 cm wingspan max.: 29 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 11 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA, Mexico


Mesquites, thorn scrub, deserts. Present at all seasons in dense bru
sh in very dry country, including mesquite groves, desert washes, lower stretches of arid canyons, dry plains with mesquite and acacia scrub, streamside brush in desert regions. In winter, also wanders into open woods, forest edges, hedgerows in farm coun


Male sings in spring to defend territory; at beginning of breeding season, both male and female may actively chase intruders of their own species. In courtship, male often feeds female.
Nest: Placed 4-15′ above the ground, usuall
y in a thorny shrub or low tree, sometimes within a clump of mistletoe. Nest (built mostly or entirely by female) is an open cup made of thorny twigs, weeds, grass, strips of bark, lined with rootlets, plant fibers, fine grass.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 2-5. Pale grayish white to greenish white, spotted with brown and gray. Incubation is by female only, about 14 days. Male often feeds female on nest during incubation period.
Young: Both parents bring food for the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 10 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects, seeds, berries.
Diet is varied. Feeds on many insects, including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and many others, also other arthropods. Eats many seeds, including those of weeds and grasses, and also frequently eat
s mesquite seeds. Feeds on berries and wild fruits, including cactus fruits. Will come to feeders for sunflower seeds.
Behavior: Forages mostly while hopping on ground; also does some foraging up in shrubs and low trees. Except when nesting, often forages in small flocks.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Pyrrhuloxia status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to central Mexico. Migration: Not truly migratory, but strays often show up outside breeding range in fall and winter, and flocks regularly winter in areas not occupied during nesting season.

Distribution map

Pyrrhuloxia distribution range map

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