This is NOT a northern cardinal. This is a male Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus).
While it’s not a cardinal, if you think it’s a bird that might be related to the Northern Cardinal, you’d be right. Its nickname is the desert cardinal but totally different bird.
The Pyrrhuloxia can tolerate drier and more open habitats than the northern cardinal. It is also less sedentary and more social than the cardinal.
The odd name “Pyrrhuloxia,” formerly part of this bird’s scientific name, combines the Latin term for the Bullfinch with a Greek reference to the bird’s bill shape.
You’ll find these birds in the southwest – New Mexico, Arizona and southern Texas. I found this one in Texas. They don’t migrate per se, but have been known to flock to areas outside their normal breeding territory during the winter.
While both female and male northern cardinals sing – even sometimes together, female Pyrrhuloxias rarely sing.
They are handsome birds and I am overjoyed, every time I see one.
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Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary, a professional bird/wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He is a pioneer in digital photography and was named one of the “30 most influential photographers on the Web” by Huffington Post. His photographic experience spans four decades and his bird/wildlife images have been published in more than 200 magazines and periodicals. He is also a Signed Master at Studio of Masters in China.
Scott has been a founder, co-founder, advisor or early stage investor in several technology companies such as NetRadio, Photofocus, and ViewBug.