Red-capped cardinal in exhibit

Red-capped Cardinal

Scientific Name
Paroaria gularis
Geographic Range
North & South America
Seeds, berries, and insects
Red-capped cardinal in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Red-capped cardinals belong to the tanager family. They were named for their crimson-colored head, and they also have a slender white body with black coloration on top. They average 6.5 inches long and weigh less than an ounce.

These birds are generally quiet but spend time in small groups or pairs. They may forage by perching on branches and shrubs that hang low over the water. Pairs defend permanent territories and incubate eggs for around 13 days.

Did You Know?

  • Red-capped cardinals are commonly known as Brazilian cardinals in some South American regions.
  • Their strong legs and large feet allow them to walk and hop on floating vegetation while they are feeding.
  • These cardinals build nests in branches of trees overhanging the water that include dry grasses and twigs. That means that when water levels rise, their nests may be in danger.


Species Survival Plan logo

Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

Learn More

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist