Skip to content
Home » What is the State Bird of North Carolina?

What is the State Bird of North Carolina?

    What is the State Bird of North Carolina?

    North Carolina, known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty, has a state bird with a special place in its heritage and culture. North Carolina’s official bird is the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), a striking songbird renowned for its vibrant plumage and melodious voice.


    The state bird represents more than just an avian symbol; it embodies the spirit and identity of a state. In the case of North Carolina, the Northern Cardinal was officially designated as the state bird in 1943. This article aims to delve into this remarkable bird’s background, description, symbolism, and significance.

    Background on North Carolina

    Red and Black Bird on Tree Branch

    Red and Black Bird on Tree Branch

    Before we explore the state bird of North Carolina, it’s essential to understand the state’s unique characteristics and significance. Nestled in the southeastern region of the United States, North Carolina boasts a diverse landscape, stretching from the majestic Appalachian Mountains to the sandy shores of the Outer Banks. It is a condition that is abundant in natural history, culture, and wonders, making it a popular destination for tourists and nature enthusiasts.

    The State Bird of North Carolina

    Official Designation

    Selecting a state bird involves careful consideration and often reflects the state’s unique characteristics or cultural heritage. In the case of North Carolina, the Northern Cardinal received official designation as the state bird in 1943. This decision honoured the bird’s stunning beauty and solid regional association.

    Description of the State Bird

    The Northern Cardinal is a medium-sized songbird known for its vibrant plumage and distinctive crest atop its head. A sight to behold is the male cardinal with its fiery red feathers contrasting against a backdrop of green foliage. On the other hand, the female exhibits a more subdued coloration, primarily donning shades of brown and red. Both genders have a distinctive black mask around their eyes.

    In addition to their striking appearance, Northern Cardinals are known for their musical and richly varied songs. Their songs, often described as a series of clear whistles, are familiar in North Carolina’s forests, parks, and backyards.

    Symbolism and Significance

    The choice of the Northern Cardinal as the state bird of North Carolina holds more profound symbolism beyond its beauty and songs. This bird is known for its resilience and adaptability, traits that resonate with the people of North Carolina. It represents strength, vitality, and the ability to thrive in challenging environments. The cardinal’s presence in the state’s natural habitats has become synonymous with the spirit and resilience of North Carolinians.

    Habitat and Distribution

    Northern Cardinal Bird on Green Plant

    Northern Cardinal Bird on Green Plant

    Native Habitat

    North America is the birthplace of the Northern Cardinal, and is a common resident of North Carolina’s diverse habitats. It thrives in various environments, including forests, woodlands, gardens, and suburban areas. Cardinals are particularly fond of thickets and dense shrubs, providing ample cover and nesting sites.


    The distribution of the Northern Cardinal extends beyond North Carolina, as it can be found throughout the country’s eastern and central regions. Within the state, the cardinal is a year-round resident, meaning it does not migrate during winter. Its bright red plumage stands out against the backdrop of snow-covered landscapes, adding colour to the winter scenery.

    Conservation Status

    Over the years, the population of Northern Cardinals has remained relatively stable in North Carolina. While some local declines have been observed due to habitat loss and urbanization, the overall population of cardinals in the state has yet to face significant threats.

    Current Conservation Efforts

    North Carolina recognizes the importance of preserving its native wildlife, including the Northern Cardinal. Various organizations and conservation programs are actively involved in protecting the cardinal’s habitat and ensuring its long-term survival. These initiatives include creating wildlife corridors, preserving natural habitats, and promoting awareness among residents and visitors.

    Interesting Facts

    • The state bird of is likewise the Northern Cardinal—six other U.S. states.
    • Both male and female cardinals are known to sing, with the male’s song being more complex and elaborate.
    • Cardinals are renowned for forming close friendships in pairs, with mated couples often seen together year-round.
    • Despite their vibrant plumage, cardinals are adept at hiding within foliage due to their preference for dense habitats.
    • The cardinal’s diet primarily consists of seeds, fruits, and insects.


    The state bird of North Carolina, the Northern Cardinal, holds a special place in the hearts of its residents. Its brilliant colours, enchanting songs, and resilient nature make it an iconic symbol of the state’s rich natural heritage. Whether spotted in a backyard or heard singing in the woods, the Northern Cardinal represents the beauty, strength, and spirit of North Carolina.


    1. What is the state’s scientific name bird of North Carolina?
      • The scientific name of the state bird of North Carolina is Cardinalis cardinalis.
    2. Does the state bird of North Carolina migrate?
      •  No, the state bird of North Carolina, the Northern Cardinal, is a year-round resident and does not migrate.
    3. Are there any threats to the state bird population?
      •  While the overall population of Northern Cardinals in North Carolina is stable, habitat loss and urbanization can pose localized threats to their numbers.
    4. Can the state bird be found in other states?
      • The Northern Cardinal is native to various United States’ eastern and central regions and is the state bird of six different states.
    5. Are there any annual events or festivals related to the state bird?
      • North Carolina hosts several birding festivals and events yearly, where bird enthusiasts can celebrate and observe various avian species, including the Northern Cardinal.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *