Another Unusual Baja Bird – The Pyrrhuloxia

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Male Pyrrhuloxia

This long crested gray cardinal is found in the Southwest and Mexico. It has no ‘common’ name but the root of the name is from PYRO signifying the red color.

The Pyrrhuloxia – Cardinalis sinuaius – is a medium size bird, 71/2 to 8 1/2 inches. Overall gray color with red accents. On the mature male bird the red color is on the face, breast, tip of crest and flight feathers. The female lacks the red color on the face and breast. A distinctive field mark is the bright yellow colored parrot-like bill.

Close-up of adult male showing the unusual bill shape

The male has an beautiful whistling call “chee .. chee .. chee … wheel .. wheel … wheel”. Most often sung from the highest perch available.

female Pyrrhuloxia – plain gray breast

They forage for food in trees, bushes and on the ground. Eats flower spikes, fruits, berries, seeds and insects.

Female Pyrrhuloxia shares the feeder with a male House Sparrow

I hope you enjoy these beautiful birds as much as I do.

A male at the feeder – loves sunflower seeds.

John Spencer

Bird Photographer located in southern Baja, Mexico

John Spencer

Bird Photographer located in southern Baja, Mexico

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