Saturday, February 3, 2018

Florida Cardinal

I was surprised and tickled to learn that the cardinal bird gets its name from cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church who wear red robes and caps. And even though this cardinal was in the deep south of the U.S., it is one of 19 subspecies of the northern cardinal. It is "northern" because it is the northernmost of the other species of cardinal. 
I have had brief glimpses of cardinals before, but this was the first time I've been able to photograph one and watch it for any extended length of time. I was in Lakeland, Florida at the Circle B Bar Reserve.
The northern cardinal male is a brilliant crimson red with a black face mask over the eyes and extending to the upper chest. The color is duller and darker on the back and wings. It has a raised crest and a cone-shaped coral colored beak. The female, which I did not see, is less colorful. It is fawn, with grayish brown tones, and with reddish tints on the wings, crest and tail feathers. It is found in the Midwest and Eastern U.S., most of Texas, the southern half of Arizona and the eastern half of Mexico. 
Duller and darker back and wings.

There are 19 subspecies of northern cardinal, mostly distinguished by the color of the female's face mask which varies from pale to black. This Florida cardinal, found from southeastern Georgia south to peninsular Florida, is one of the 19 subspecies. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos. The deeo red is such a beautiful shade.