How Do Cardinals Look Like? A Closer Look

What Do Cardinals Look Like

Hey, are you wondering what cardinals look like? Maybe you are new in North America. Because for Americans it is so easy for them to Identify what cardinals look like!!! They are so beautiful and eye soothing that their red plumage becomes brighter in the snow. Usually they look long and their tails and their beauty come while they sing. In Summer they look so happy while their beautiful voice can make your morning beautiful.

Now if you ever didn’t see a cardinal then a question arises “ What do cardinals look like ?“ Cardinals look red all over with a ruby red and got a black face around their bill, but the females are light brown and others are with ruby red in the wings, crest and tail. Both males and females have the same black near their beaks.

What Do Baby Cardinals Look like?

Baby cardinals usually don’t cover themselves with feathers and they can’t open their eyes. Ultimately they are blind that time. Their Feathers grow between day  1 to day 10 and their size also increases rapidly in this season. When the cardinals hatched they had only tufts of gray down. When they are babies they have light brown feathers in their body which can make them feel warm. And in 10 days they will get their habitual crest in their head and when they turn into juvenile they can be specified as male or female by their color.

Baby Cardinals in Nest

Their beak shape indicates that when the cardinal will be in juvenile how he will maintain his diet, and their upper and lower beak joint indicates how they are able to take their seeds as their food. Eventually their beak colors are black but as their age increases it turns into orange red.

What Do Juvenile Cardinals Look like?

Juveniles’ color looks light brown, and undersides are fluffy and their necks also. Their tails are short that time and the color turns into light red and both male and female have red adult plumage. Both male and female cardinals look brownish like the adult female and the male and female juveniles have little difference so how can you differentiate them.

Juvenile Cardinals Look Like

And there is a big confusion about how you are gonna differentiate the juvenile male cardinals with the adult female cardinals because they look almost the same. But if you observe properly you can see that in the case of male juveniles have beautiful berry red highlights on their head but whereas the adult female cardinals don’t have the same highlight. In the period of baby to juvenile they will be recognize by their shabby feathers and their Beautiful crests that time they get a rumple look.

What Do Male Cardinals Look like?

Cardinal males have bright red overall plumage with a black neck and mask. Their medium-sized bodies are stocky, and they have thick reddish-orange bills and a conspicuous, triangular red crest. Compared to women, they are 2 cm bigger.

Male Cardinals Look Like

The Male cardinals which are in Arizona are brighter orange-red but they are not like northern ones which are maroon red. And the Male cardinals which live nearly eastern are deep red. But if you ever have red and white cardinals they are so exceptional to see because it is not so easy to see them because they are extinct in nature now.

What Do Female Cardinals Look like?

Female cardinals have light brown feathers all over the body and they have grey-olive plumage with light red in the crest, and have tails full of long feathers. Like male cardinals, females have medium sized bodies and bills which look orange-red.

Female Cardinals Look Like

But the females have the failings of black color as they show a little black feather around their bills. The females also have a triangular crest which looks like a brush cut and they have round beautiful eyes.

Read: What Animals Eat Cardinals?

How to Identify The Type of Cardinals?

In North America there can be mainly three types of cardinals that can be seen in your backyard in the feeder. So if you set a feeder for the cardinals and if you can’t identify them then our this chart will help you to identify them.

Now we will be describing our three most common cardinals which are vermilion, Desert cardinal, Red Crested, Northern Cardinal. So for better understanding let’s look at this table :

TypesColorSizeShapewingspanCrest ShapeIdentification(Male)(Female)
Vermilion CardinalMale are Scarlet red and the females are Brown.5-9 inchRound9-11 inchTriangularBrilliant Scarlet over all black chin.Brown, Grey headed and red accents.
Desert CardinalPrey Grey with Red Patches8-9 inchRound10-12TriangularMedium size, Fully Reddish.Red Accents muted, Greyish brown.
Red CrestedWhite and Grey5-9 inchSomewhat tall9-11 inchTriangular
White breast, grey on back.
Same as male but plumage is light.
Northern CardinalBrilliant Red and Pale Brown7-9 inchRound10-12 inchTriangular
Red Plumage with medium size body.
Pale brown with grewish olive.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do Female Cardinals Look Like?

    Maximum types of female Cardinals are brown and grey.

  2. What is The Main Difference Between Male And Female Cardinals?

    The main difference is their beak and color.


From this Article we can understand what kind of cardinals can we find near us. We Have also discussed how the baby cardinals and juveniles look alike. And if you have read our chart on the basis of type of cardinals so it would be really easy to find. In the backyard they may come there in the morning so feed them, analyze the type by this chart.

Mosharraf Mahmud

Mosharraf is an MSC in Computer Science. He has been passionate about birds since childhood. He is the author of the blog Birds Indeed, where he regularly shares his knowledge and experience about different birds. He is passionate about helping others to understand the beauty of birds and their ecosystem.

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