Penguins' Rock CAM is made possible in part
a generous contribution from the AT&T Foundation.

Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.


Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

ON EXHIBIT:  Cove Forest and Delta Swamp at River Journey 

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most beautiful songbirds found in the United States. The male is a brilliant red with a black face and the female is a brownish red with red markings on the crest, wings and tail. This member of the finch family can be found throughout eastern North America. It is one of the few birds that not only mates for life but stays with its mate all year. The female builds the leaf and twig nest and sits on the pale-green eggs while the male feeds and protects her. Cardinals often occupy one area throughout the year and will defend that area against any other birds. Unlike most birds, both sexes of the cardinal are excellent songbirds. Their song has many variations, often centered around combinations of "whoit, whoit, whoit; what cheer, what cheer, wheat, wheat, wheat, and pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty."  

Their population is stable in the wild and they are protected by the Migratory Bird Act.  Northern Cardinals have been a part of the Tennessee Aquarium’s collection for many years and have produced dozens of offspring.

Fan Photo

Northern Cardinal
Photo by amanda.pippin

About This Animal

SIZE   8 inches

RANGE  Eastern North America 

HABITAT  Hardwood forests 

DIET Seeds, fruit and insects