Most of what northern cardinals eat is weed and sunflower seeds, grains, and fruits. Northern cardinals have large, strong beaks are specialized to crack open seeds. They prefer seeds that are easily husked. They will also eat some insects and feed their young almost exclusively insects. Northern cardinals are less choosy during winter when food is harder to find.
Northern cardinals drink water by scooping it into their bill and tipping their head back. They drink freshwater from streams, ponds, or even birdbaths.
Animal Foods: carrion ; insects
Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit
- Searles, R. 1989. Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). Passenger Pigeon, 51: 236.
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