Males are bright, deep red with black faces. Females are lighter tones. Cardinals are abundant across the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and in Canada in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Their natural habitats are woodlands, suburbs, gardens, swamps and thickets.
The male sings in a loud clear whistle from a tree top to defend his territory. The pair sometimes sing together before nesting. The female builds a cup nest in a well-concealed spot in dense shrub or a low tree. Both feed the young.
These birds are permanent residents throughout their range, although they may relocate to avoid extreme weather or if food is scarce.