• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Yellow/Brown Cardinal - Manitowoc, WI (1 Viewer)


New member
United States

Hoping someone could help identify a bird I've been seeing at my feeder throughout the winter and this spring. It looks similar to a Northern Cardinal but the coloring is different, it has a yellow breast, light brown body with a distinctive yellow beak. There is no hint of red or orange on its body, the size looks to about the same as the rest of the Northern Cardinals I see. It seems to be skittish as it never stays long at the feeder which has made it difficult to get a picture. I have quite a few Northern Cardinal visiting my feeder and the coloring on them is completely different than this bird, at first I thought maybe it was a female Northern Cardinal but it just doesn't come close to same coloring of the other cardinals I'm seeing?

Thanks for any help!


  • yellow_cardinal_1.jpg
    674.2 KB · Views: 15
  • Yellow_cardinal_2.jpg
    750.9 KB · Views: 15
  • Yellow_cardinal_3.jpg
    480.9 KB · Views: 15

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
Depending on what stage of evolving into an adult they are in and I'm giving you a link to google images showing all female cardinals and their different colors.:

Female No. Cardinals


Well-known member
United States
It does look a little unusual. Almost reminds me of a pyrrhuloxia at first glance, but they have a short, orangeish, rounded bill, don't quite look like that, and you aren't anywhere near their range. I think you just have an unusual Northern cardinal.


Speak softly and carry a long lens
It's most certainly a Northern Cardinal. The shape is distinctive, including the bill shape. (It's not a pyrrhuloxia or phainopepla or ...)

It's yellower than most female Northern Cardinals, with less red on the wings, and the bill is unusually pale. Not sure if that's down to nutrition, or youth, or regional variation, or just individual variation. They're variable birds, this one is more extreme yellow than I've ever seen personally, but Google can find plenty more that at least come very close to this.


New member
United States
Thanks all for taking a look. I assumed it was a female northern cardinal but was just thrown off by the yellow beak and no red anywhere on its body. She did make it through the winter so I'll keep a eye on her to see if she changes color at all.


Well-known member
...distinctive yellow beak. There is no hint of red or orange on its body...
...no red anywhere on its body...
There is certainly some reddish on bill, head, body, wing and tail. From field-guide pics, and photos, it looks pretty much what one might expect for 1st-winter female, perhaps (depending on date) a rather late-developing one.
It is always good to know the the date of photos, and would certainly have been useful here.

Users who are viewing this thread