Found throughout eastern and central North America from southern Canada into parts of Mexico and Central America. They have also been introduced to California, Hawaii and Bermuda.
Temperate zone woodlands, tropical rain forests, thickets, arid scrub, plantations, gardens, suburban fields
Males are almost solid crimson with black shades around the beak and eyes. A crest of plumage stands erect on top of the head. The female is more yellowish-brown and also has a crest and reddish-orange bill. Females do not have the black mask but areas of their face my be dark.
Solitary and pugnacious in the breeding season, the male may occasionally wound, or even kill their adversaries. Parents are joined by other cardinals when tending to the nestlings. The nest is usually built by the female and the male brings his incubating partner food.
Breeding occurs between March and September. Two broods are raised a year in March and May-July. The female lays 2-5 eggs and incubates them without the males help for 11-13 days. Juveniles are ready to breed the following year.