Wednesday 16 December 2015

Northern Cardinal x Pyrrhuloxia

captive Northern Cardinal x Pyrrhuloxia hybrid, near Tuscon (Arizona, USA), 7th December 2010 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 2215)

Three different examples of this hybrid here showing a mix of features from either parent.  According to the Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World (McCarthy, 2006) this hybrid has occurred in the wild in Arizona as well as at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where I think these photos were taken.

captive Northern Cardinal x Pyrrhuloxia hybrids, near Tuscon (Arizona, USA), 7th December 2010 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo IDs: 2213-2214)

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus


  1. How far north has this bird been sighted? We live in North East Pennsylvania about 20 miles from the New York border and on 9.14.2018 there were 3 at our feeder. I took pictures that I wish were crisper but it is a bird we've never seen here before. Northern Cardinal x Pyrrhuloxia. Thanks Mike

    1. Hi Mike, I am not aware of any records north of Arizona though it would not surprise me greatly if it occurred rarely in other southern states where Pyrrhuloxia has occurred. Both species are relatively sedentary so I think the opportunity for one (let alone three) hybrids turning up in NE Pennsylvania must be very remote. I wonder if your birds could have been immature Cardinals or Cardinals with some kind of abnormality? If you still think they were hybrids then worth emailing us your photo so we can have a look.

    2. Hi Dave, well after searching on line I learned more than what my Bird book was showing. Late in the day there was a lot of chirping go'in on at the feeder and low an behold there were 4 or 5 of my mystery birds. One was a bright red male acting like a Dad so I am going with a boat load of immature birds. It makes more sense to me now, the Arizona thing not so much. Thanks for your input Dave.

  2. We have definitely had one on our feeders today. We are in SE Oklahoma.

  3. I had one of these birds appear at my feeder in KY! It wasn't in my bird book so i turned to the internet and boy am I amazed. I know for a fact it was this bird. I pulled out my binoculars and everything