Yellow-billed Cardinal - Paroaria capitata

Length 6.5 in (16.5 cm)
Weight 0.6-0.9 oz (17-24.5 g)
Clutch Size 3-4
Chicks at birth Altricial
IUCN Conservation Status Least Concern
Continents:SA, Islands

The Yellow-billed Cardinal is in the tanager family and is an import to the Big Island of Hawaii from South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay). The Yellow-billed Cardinal has a bright red head, black upperparts, white underparts, a black chin, a yellow bill, pinkish legs and orange eyes. Juveniles have a brownish head. At first glance, Yellow-billed Cardinals can be confused with Red-crested Cardinals, but the yellow bill and absence of a crest on the Yellow-billed Cardinals is a giveaway. Further, they are not even closely related. The population on the Big Island is probably due to released/escaped cage birds.

(For more information)

Diet: Yellow-billed Cardinals eat seeds, fruit and insects. They can be seen foraging on the ground hunting for seeds.

Courtship: Mating season begins in October.

Nesting: The nest is deep and cup-shaped and is made of small branches, twigs, grasses and horsehair. Usually two eggs are laid and are alricial (little feathers at birth)

Habitat and Range: They are common on the Kona Coast and are usually found in shrubs and open areas near marshes, lakes and rivers and on the edges of woodlands and forests. I saw them on the lawns around various resorts in Kona.

Vocalization: Their call is a single, squeaky note similar to the red-crested cardinal but softer.

Plumage/Molt No information.

Migration: Not sure about South America, but Yellow-billed Cardinals don't migrate in Hawaii.

Tongue/feet: No information on tongue.


  • The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed June, 2012
  • Waite, Mitchell - WhatBird, Accessed June, 2012
  • Hawaii Audubon Society, Hawaii's Birds,Hawaiian Audubon Society, 2005
  • Nelson, J. Bryan, Pelicans, Cormorants and their relatives,Oxford University Press, 2005

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