Kentucky State Bird - Cardinal



(Cardinalis cardinalis)
Adopted in 1926.

The cardinal became the state bird of the Commonwealth during the legislative session in 1926 [KY Acts, Chapter 350, Senate Resolution No. 17; recodified in 1942 (KRS 2.080)].

Kentucky Revised Statutes
2.080 State bird.
The native redbird, commonly known as the Kentucky cardinal (cardinalis), is the official state bird of Kentucky.
  • Effective: October 1, 1942
  • History: Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 4618n.

The Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a type of finch that can be found in gardens, streamside thickets, mesquite patches, and woodlands throughout the east and southwest sections of the United States.

Kentucky's state bird, the cardinal, is shared by six other states. But Kentucky was the first to adopt it. The northern cardinal is also the state bird for six other states. These are Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The cardinal was named by early American settlers, after Catholic cardinals who dress in bright red robes. These birds are strongly territorial and have a loud, whistling song.

Their distinctive color (scarlet for males, buffy brown and red for females), pronounced crest, heavy bill, and easily recognizable song make cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) some of the most readily identified birds in the state.

Cardinals build their nests in bushes. Their nests are usually about 1.5 meters (4 to 5 ft.) above the ground. The eggs are laid between the middle of April and the middle of August. Cardinals usually lay several clutches of eggs each season. Each clutch consists of between two and five whitish eggs with dark streaks and spots on them.

Cardinals usually feed on the ground or in low bushes. They eat a wide variety of insects, grains, wild fruits, and seeds. They are common birds around bird feeders.

Kingdom Animalia -- animals
   Phylum Chordata -- chordates
      Subphylum Vertebrata -- vertebrates
         Class Aves -- birds
            Order Passeriformes -- perching birds
               Family Fringillidae -- buntings, finches, grosbeaks, old world finches, sparrows
                  Genus Cardinalis Bonaparte, 1838 -- cardinals
                     Species Cardinalis cardinalis (Linnaeus, 1758) -- Cardenal rojo, northern cardinal