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Top left: Paroaria coronata

Top right: Paroaria dominicana
Left center: Paroaria nigrogenis
Right center: Paroaria gularis gularis
Bottom left: Paroaria capitata
Bottom right: Paroaria g. cervicalis

Paroaria coronata in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Paroaria
Bonaparte, 1832
Type species
Fringilla cucullata[1] =Loxia coronata

See text

P. coronata showing typical color pattern of genus

Paroaria, the red-headed cardinals or cardinal-tanagers (as they are not close to the Cardinalidae), are a genus of tanagers. They were until recently placed in the family Emberizidae.

Five or six species are placed here. They are all very similar-looking birds, with heads resembling that of a northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis, a true member of the Cardinalidae), though they are somewhat more slender, in particular the rather tanager-like bill.

Their coloration is also typical; they are quite unlike any Cardinalidae, though they bear a passing resemblance to adult male rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). Like these, they are white below and dark above (grey to blackish in the case of Paroaria). But unlike P. ludovicianus, they have no conspicuous pattern except for the head, which has large amounts of bright red; it may be predominantly so or patterned red-and-black. Almost all Paroaria have at least a short crest. The bill is yellowish below or in its entirety.

Taxonomy and species list

The genus Paroaria was introduced in 1832 by the French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte with the red-crested cardinal as the type species.[2][3] The name is from Tiéguacú paroára, a name for a small yellow, red and grey bird in the extinct Tupi language.[4]

The genus contains six species:[5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Paroaria coronata Red-crested cardinal Northern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul and southern part of the Pantanal. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands.
Paroaria dominicana Red-cowled cardinal Brazil.
Paroaria gularis Red-capped cardinal Guianas, Venezuela, eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, northern and eastern Bolivia and the Amazon basin in Brazil.
Paroaria nigrogenis Masked cardinal Trinidad, far north-eastern Colombia and northern Venezuela
Paroaria baeri Crimson-fronted cardinal Brazil.
Paroaria capitata Yellow-billed cardinal Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. Introduced to the Hawaiian islands.


  1. ^ "Thraupidae". The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  2. ^ Bonaparte, Charles Lucien (1832). "Aggiunte e correzioni relative agli animali vertebrati a sangue caldo". Giornale Arcadico di Scienze, Lettre ed Arti (in Italian). 52: 190–209 [206].
  3. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 212.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 293. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2020). "Tanagers and allies". IOC World Bird List Version 10.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 1 November 2020.

Media related to Paroaria at Wikimedia Commons

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