Save on Pinterest

9 Birds That Look Like Cardinals

Cardinals are also known as redbirds, but not every red bird is a cardinal. Check out some other birds that look like cardinals.

birds that look like cardinals, pyrrhuloxiaCourtesy Patricia Vilnit

Pyrrhuloxia

Pyrrhuloxia birds look like cardinals; in fact, they are sometimes called the desert cardinal. This species an be found in the Southwest and has the same impressive crest as the northern cardinal. The coloring is a bit different, though: Male pyrrhuloxias are mostly gray with red accents. Want to spot a cool pyrrhuloxia? Visit the southern regions of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Check out simply stunning photos of cardinals.

scarlet tanagerCourtesy Victoria Martel

Scarlet Tanager

Several red birds look like cardinals at a glance. Scarlet tanagers have solid red heads and bodies with black wings and tail feathers. These migrating birds tend to stay high in the treetops. Check out 4 vibrant tanager species you should to know.

summer tanagerCourtesy Bill Palmer

Summer Tanager

Summer tanagers are all red birds, without the black wings and tail of the scarlet tanager, and no black eye mask like cardinals. Look for them in southern states. They are not as numerous as cardinals, so spotting one is an exciting find for bird-watchers. Discover 8 surprising facts about tanagers.

vermilion flycatcherCourtesy Joseph Mandy

Vermilion Flycatcher

One of the best places to see vibrant red vermilion flycatchers is Saguaro National Park in Arizona, where there is no shortage of desert scrub habitat. They have a black eye mask similar to a cardinal, and black wings and tail feathers like scarlet tanagers. Discover the desert birds of the southwest.

Phainopepla, desert birdsCourtesy Leslie Pardo

Phainopepla

This unique species looks like a black or dark gray cardinal with a red eye. The phainopepla can be found in the southwestern U.S. Check out proven ways to attract and identify cardinals.

Red Crossbill PerchingCarolinaBirdman/Getty Images

Red Crossbill

Another red bird to look for is the red crossbill. For a positive ID, look at the bird’s uniquely shaped bill. Crossbills may show up almost anywhere—they are the ultimate nomads of the bird world.

Close-up of bird perching on branchPeder Lundkvist / 500px/Getty Images

Pine Grosbeak

This species typically stays far up north, but it might show up in winter at your feeders. So if you see a flash of reddish-pink feathers in a snowy tree, don’t just automatically assume it’s a cardinal. Psst—we found the best cardinal bird feeders and birdseed.

tufted titmouse eating peanutsCourtesy Benjamin Blyther

Tufted Titmouse

Yes, the tufted titmouse is gray and white, not red, but its head crest might trick you into thinking it is a female cardinal. Here’s how to attract titmice to visit your backyard.

cedar waxwingCourtesy Deborah Bryk

Cedar Waxwing

There are so many colors in a cedar waxwing! They have a head crest and a black mask, so when viewed from a distance, these birds look like cardinals. Look for colorful feathers on their wing tips and tail. You’ll probably find these birds around a berry bush. Learn how to tell the difference between bohemian waxwings vs cedar waxwings.

Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

cover
Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 75%!