Male Cardinal And Pyrrhuloxia

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Yesterday I posted some images of Northern Cardinals.  Those of us who reside in southern Arizona are fortunate in that we have two cardinal species living here: the Northern Cardinal and its close cousin, the Pyrrhuloxia (sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Mexican Cardinal”).

Pyrrhuloxias are in the main a Mexican species whose range intrudes into southwest Texas, southern New Mexico, and southern Arizona.  They bear a strong resemblance to cardinals and, in fact, the two species are very closely related.

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Pyrrhuloxias are slightly smaller than cardinals.  The male Pyrrhuloxia, like the one depicted here, lacks the Cardinal’s nearly all-scarlet plumage.  Its base plumage is gray, accompanied by intense red on the bird’s face, crest, breast, and wingtips and tail.  A principal difference between the two species lies in the shapes and colors of their beaks.  Cardinals’ beaks are red and wedge-shaped.  Pyrrhuloxias’ beaks are ivory colored and there is a pronounced curve to their upper and lower mandibles.

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Obviously, male Pyrrhuloxias and cardinals are easy to tell apart.  That’s not the case with the females of these species.  Tomorrow I’ll post images of female Pyrrhuloxias and cardinals.  They look a lot alike.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture preferred setting, ISO 400. The first image shot at f8 @ 1/640, the second at f8 @ 1/1600.

One response to “Male Cardinal And Pyrrhuloxia”

  1. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    Glad to see the Pyrrhuloxias back!

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