SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cardinalis Sinuatus
Males in all plumages are grayish-brown to brownish gray. Wings and tail are slightly darker. Primaries and alula are red-edged. Tail have pinkish-red coverts. Underparts are pale gray, with red medial stripe, from chin to belly, and some red wash in other parts. Bill is yellow to horn and darker in winter.
Head is gray with thin pointed crest which is tipped red. Face shows red forehead, lores, eye ring and malar area. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are gray to dull flesh.
Females are slightly browner than males on head and upperparts. Crest is slightly red-tipped, and they have a reddish eye-ring. Throat and underparts are pale grayish washed buff, and there is a pinkish wash on the throat and chest. Bill is duller than in males and grayish in winter.
Juveniles resemble females but with gray bill and little or no red-tipped crest.
BILL: thick, parrot-like bill with decurved upper mandible.
SIZE: measures about 8.3 inches in length, with a wingspan of 12 inches.
WEIGHT: weighs about 24 - 43 grams.
COLOR: gray, grayish-brown, brown, brownish-gray, red, pinkish-red, and buff.
Seeds, fruits of cactus and insects.
Arid to semi-arid scrub, thorny brush, cultivated areas with hedgerows, residential areas near mesquite grasslands and along stream beds.
Southeast Arizona to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and southwards to Central Mexico.
CALL: A single note or series of the same note. A sharp “pik”, a bright metallic “plik” or “think”.
SONG: A variable series of notes at different pitches and intervals. It is a loud whistle, repeated 3 to 6 times or more “wheet-wheet…” or “whee-t-wee-twee…”
NEST: The female builds a compact cup made of thorny twigs, strips of bark, and coarse grass. It is lined with rootlets, strips of bark, horsehair, plant fibers, spiderwebs, feathers, and tiny plant stems.
EGGS: 2 - 3 grayish-white eggs, speckled with gray and brown.
INCUBATION: 14 days, female fed by the male.
NESTLING PHASE: 10 -13 days.
Their foraging is done by hopping along the ground as they search for insects and seeds. They will also hop and climb through shrubs and low in woodland canopy in search of food.
They are more solitary during the nesting season, at other times of the year, they will often forage in small flocks.
The oldest Pyrrhuloxia on record was a male, and at least 8 years, 1 month old.