Do cardinals mate for life?

Perhaps, you’ve been wondering, “Do Cardinals Mate for Life?”


We are about to quell your curiosity. Cardinals are songbirds found mainly in South and North America and United States. Within the family of Cardinals, there are three Cardinals in the genus Cardinalis. They are Northern Cardinals, Vermilion Cardinals, and Desert Cardinals. There are several cardinal species.

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Cardinals sport nice colors ranging from rose-red to bright red and even brownish grey color. The male and female cardinal differ in color. For instance, the male northern cardinal cardinalis has bright red color while the female has brown color with sprinkles of orange and red on their crest, feathers, and tail. Cardinals are some of the birds that mate for life.

Do cardinals mate for life?

Within a summer season, cardinals can breed up to 3 times. Cardinals are often found around houses because they get food from backyard bird feeders. it is common to see a cardinal make a nest in dense shrubs around houses.

What are the courtship behaviors of cardinals?

Cardinals are known to be common lovers. The northern cardinal male will typically feed the northern female cardinal during courtship. They spend time together year round when they are in love. You can have northern cardinals visit your bird feeder regularly.

Female cardinals build nests in bushes and shrubs. Building the nest may take her up to 9 days or less. With the males assisting, it my take 3 days or a few more. Female cardinals lay 2 to 3 eggs, or sometimes 4 eggs at a time. During incubation, which lasts for 11 to 13 days, the male cardinals stay with their mates, bringing her food.


Cardinals care for their young ones right from when the eggs hatch. You may find them preening each other, and even their young ones. They pick bugs from their feathers.

What happens when a cardinal loses its mate?

On the average, about 40% of adult cardinal die each year. Most deaths occur during winter. As it is with humans, so it is with animals. When females Cardinals lose their male counterparts, it is expected that they will react. Male and female cardinal will feel lonely if any of them loses its mate.

Do cardinals mate for life?

Cardinals form flocks during non breeding season. These groups change continuously with Cardinals joining and leaving. When a female counterparts loses its male partner, she may detach herself from the flock for the meantime. Then after she’s recovered from the shock of her lost one, she evaluates the flock and makes her choice of potential male partners.

Do male and female cardinals stay together?

Northern cardinals stay within their territory year round. It is common for northern cardinals to maintain the same partner for several breeding seasons because they mate for life. This is why they are considered monogamous The male cardinal secures his territory against intruders and secures the female to his side.


Male and female northern cardinals live like couples; feeding and caring for their young cardinals. Cardinals make good parents to their young, feeding them for several weeks even after they have left the nest. Many young one fly for the time at about 10 days old when they are well developed and their feathers are strong enough. If you have a female cardinal, you may find that a male cardinal comes to share the feeders with her. The life-span of a northern cardinal is an average of 15 years in the wild. Some may live for lesser number of years.


The cardinal bird is aggressive when defending their range against other birds. The cardinal is more aggressive when protecting their range and females as they lay and incubate eggs.

Many people consider cardinals as monogamous because the male stays with its female mate for several breeding seasons. It is common to see them sharing their nests and staying together for the whole year.

The male takes food to the females in their nests during incubation and even at other times. As parents, they dwell with their young ones, supporting them through their first weeks. The fact is staying together for the whole year does not make them monogamous as such.

The cardinal will get to the bird feeder if it contains the food they like. Avoid using a feeder. They may not support the birds’ weight. Feeding the cardinal with the food they like will attract them. The feeder should be at a close range to the nests.

The northern cardinal is a typical ground feeder. However, they also get food from man in bird feeders. Any bird feed can attract them but these birds like safflower and sunflower seeds, corn, peanuts, suet, etc.

Cardinals are of American descent and often found around the US. The northern cardinal is territorial, especially during breeding seasons. In winter, they flock around food sources. This is because food is usually scarce in winter.


Cardinals are found mostly in North America, South America, and the United States. Cardinals may not be monogamous although they mate for life. cardinal cardinalis have an average 15 years of life. some live for fewer number of years. cardinals sport different colors including vibrant red, rose-red, and brown. some cardinals have black beaks. the male northern cardinal sports black face mask around his beak beautifying his throat.

female cardinals lay two or three eggs per time. some may lay four eggs. the males get them foods. the males protect the territories. both the males and their mates are good parents to their young. they preen their feathers often.

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Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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