Hawaiian Bird With Red Head

Have you recently visited Hawaii and spotted a bird with a vibrantly colored, feathered red head during your time there?

If you did, chances are that the bird that you encountered was the Red-Crested Cardinal.

Hawaiian Bird With Red Head

Found in the lowlands situated across all of the main Hawaiian islands, the Red-Crested Cardinal is originally native to South America and was first spotted on Oahu island at some point in the 1930s.

Due to its South American roots, this bird is also sometimes referred to as the Brazilian Cardinal!

In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at this interesting bird, so that you can gain a better understanding of the Red-Crested Cardinal, including its behaviors, appearance, and much more.

Let’s jump in!

All About The Red-Crested Cardinal

To help you gain a better understanding of this species of bird that is commonly found across all of the main Hawaiian islands, we are going to be taking a closer look at this unique and striking species of bird below:


As we’re sure that you’ll agree, the Red-Crested Cardinal is a truly unmistakable bird thanks to its bright red crest that is featured across its throat that feathers upwards towards the face.

Truly striking, the vibrant red feathers that mark the face and neck contrast sharply with the underbelly, back, and tail feathers that are a mixture of more subdued shades of white, gray and, black.

As for height and weight?

The Red-Crested Cardinal will typically weigh between 30-35g and is usually around 19cm (or 7.5 inches) in length when it reaches full adult maturity.

Following on, it should also be noted that male and female Red-Crested Cardinals can sometimes vary in appearance, too.

On one hand, you have the female Red-Crested Cardinal which are usually light brown and black across the underbelly and back, while their faces have been sometimes spotted to be more of a bright orange than vibrant red, although the majority of female Red-Crested Cardinals will feature the bright red feathering.

On the other hand, we have the male Red-Crested Cardinals which closely fit the general description we have already provided above.

While their underbelly and back are varying shades of black, gray and brown, their necks and head are consistently found to be a striking bright red.


As we have already briefly mentioned above, even though the Red Crested Cardinal is typically found across all of the main islands of Hawaii, this bird does not actually come from Hawaii.

Instead, the Red Crested Cardinal is actually originally from South America, which is why it is often referred to as the Brazilian Cardinal alongside the Red Crested Cardinal.

It was not until the 1930s that the Red Crested Cardinal was recorded in Hawaii, and a large population of this unique species of bird has stayed there ever since.

Along with residing in various parts of the Hawaiian islands as well as South America, the Red Crested Cardinal has also been spotted in some other states in the USA, including California.



On average, the Red-Crested Cardinal will typically live for a period of around 14 years when kept in captivity, and often around 5 years in the wild due to a higher risk of predators and food shortage.

However, keep in mind that the lifespan of every Red-Crested Cardinal will also come down to a variety of internal and external factors, so while the average lifespan is around 14 years in captivity, this can often vary as we have already mentioned.


Red Crested Cardinals are considered to be omnivores, which means that they eat a variety of different foods that originate from both animals and plants.

The main food sources that Red-Crested Cardinals eat tends to be various types of seeds from plants, different types of berries, different types of fruit, as well as occasionally insects.

This means that Red-Crested Cardinal are opportunistic hunters and able to adapt and live off varying types of food supplies/sources.

Conservation Status

At the time of writing this article, the Red-Crested Cardinal is currently classified as being “Least Concern”.

This means that, at the time of writing, this species of bird that can be found in both South America and Hawaii is not currently at risk of becoming extinct, and its population is ever growing.

Fun Facts

  1. Red-Crested Cardinals will mate for life, which means that once they find a partner, they will form a bond that will last a lifetime!
  2. Red-Crested Cardinals cannot be kept as pets because they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  3. In its native country of South America (mainly Brazil) the Red-Crested Cardinal has been featured on postage stamps!
  4. Juvenile Red-Crested Cardinals are often born without their red crest and head, and will often get them after their down feathers have fallen away.
  5. They are considered to be a songbird, and will often whistle a tune while they are hunting, in the nest and to even communicate with their partners.
  6. Along with being called the Red-Crested Cardinal, as this species of bird hails from South America, they are also sometimes referred as the Brazilian Cardinal!

Wrapping Up

You’ve made it to the end!

Now that you read through the above article, we’re hoping that we’ve helped to provide you with some clarity on the Red Crested Cardinal that is often spotted roaming and flying around the various main Hawaiian islands.

As well as that, we also hope that we’ve helped to provide some clarity on how this species of bird ended up being introduced to Hawaii, too.

Before you click off, why don’t you give this article a bookmark?

That way, if you ever want to come back and refresh your knowledge on this little bird that contains a distinctly red head, you’ll know exactly where to find us.

Thank you for reading!