Manu Minute: The Cardinal Cousins
We've got not one, but two cardinals for you today.
And guess what, they're not even real cardinals.
Despite their names, the red-crested cardinal and the yellow-billed cardinal are actually tanagers, just like our old friend, the saffron finch.
The descriptors in their name are quite accurate, however, and they hold the key to distinguishing these two birds from one another.
Here's another helpful hint for identification. The red-crested cardinal is found on all of the main Hawaiian islands except the Big Island, whereas the yellow-billed cardinal is found only on the Big Island.
Both birds are native to South America. In Hawaiʻi, they prefer lower elevation areas, which they can inhabit without worry due to their resistance to avian malaria.
Here's the call of a red-crested cardinal.
And here's the call of a yellow-billed cardinal.
Can you tell the difference?
Audio credit: Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (216460 and 5004)