Red Robin Vs Cardinal

Red Robin Vs Cardinal: A Guide To Identifying Differences

Red Robin and Cardinal are prominent members of the avian kingdom. Robins are considered songbirds often found in America. Red Robins are songbirds with warm red breasts and dark heads and bodies. They are found in the backyard, fields, parks, mountains, forests, and tundra of America. 

The Cardinal is well-known as a Northern Cardinal. In some parts of the world, the Cardinal is represented as a sign of devotion, monogamy, and loving relationship. They play countless roles in mythology and literature through the centuries.   

When watching these two birds together from a distance, we cannot recognize the differences at first glance. If you look closely at these birds, you can find some similarities and differences. However, these birds are not from the same family, and there are certain factors you should know about them.

Characteristics of Red Robin and Cardinal

If you are a passionate birdwatcher, you should be aware of some indications to identify each bird correctly. In this article, let’s discuss Red Robin and Cardinal and find out how they are unique from each other. Here, I have included a detailed comparison of the Red Robin and Cardinal in this article. So, you will never make a mistake while recognizing them.  

FeaturesRed Robin Cardinal
ColourRed Robins have reddish-orange breast, black head, and a grey shade on the back. Male cardinals are red with black faces, while females are pale brown. 
Size & shapeRound body 9 to 11 inches long. Mid-sized body 8.3 to 9.3 inches.
Wings12-16 inches wingspan, rounded.10 to 12 inches wingspan, rounded.
Beak Long and pointed yellow beak.Cone-shaped, red beak with black mask. 
FlightLong and straight flightFast wing beat.
Flocks Red Robins are large flocks that live together. Cardinals live in small groups during mating season. 
Song The songs of Robin are slightly harsher than the Cardinals. The Cardinals have a slow and more melodious call than Robins.
Weight 77 grams (2.7 ounces). 43 grams (1.51 ounces)
Breeding 5-6 eggs, blue-green, sky blue, or unmarked eggs.2-5 eggs, off-white, greenish-white, or speckled eggs. 
Habitat Found in urban areas in the presence of humansThey also love the presence of humans.
Lifespan 2 years in the wild. 3 years in the wild.

Key differences between Red Robin and Cardinal

On closer investigation, there are a few differences between Red Robin and Cardinals. 

🐦Size, Shape, and weight

Robins are slightly larger than Cardinals. The average size of a Robin is 9 to 10 inches long, while Cardinals are 8.3 to 9.3 inches long.  When it comes to shape, robins have round bodies, and Cardinals have round and slightly tall bodies. Red Robins are bulkier than Cardinals. 

🐦Colour and markings

We can distinguish these two birds with their colour and markings. The Red Robin comes with a greyish-brown on their chest, orange underpart, yellow beak, and black head. The allover colour of Red Robin is dull and muted. On the contrary, the Cardinals are bright red bodies with red beaks and black face masks. 

🐦Wings and beaks

Cardinals have short and cone-shaped beaks, while Robins have longer and pointed beaks that are slightly upwards. In the case of wings, a Cardinal has a long and round red tail. And Robin with a fan-shaped tail in black colour. 


Both Robins and Cardinals live in the area where people live. As they are not migratory birds, they can be found in backyards, gardens, woodlands, and parks at any time. These birds are so close to human beings. 

Diet and Feeding Habits

Cardinals are granivorous, they eat more seeds and fruits than Robin. They are mostly found in the backyards of houses. The eating behaviour of Cardinals is different from Robin, they feast mainly on seeds, grains, and small fruits. They love eating sunflower and safflower seeds. So if you want to attract Cardinals to your backyard, feed them seeds and grains.   

On the other hand, Red Robins are omnivores and they prefer different types of insects, berries, and small fruits. The normal diet of Robin includes 40% insects and 60% fruits. They include insects, spiders, termites, crickets, grubs, larvae, snails, and grasshoppers commonly in the diet. 

Both the birds are not migration birds. They roam around the urban areas in the presence of human beings. Even though they are very territorial, they love interacting with people. 

Behaviour and Personality

🟡Social behavior– Red Robins are more active than Cardinals. The  Cardinals are found in pairs, and Red Robins are always in groups. Red Robin searches for food in groups without fearing predators and human beings. Both birds approach humans in search of food. 

🟡Vocalization– Cardinal and Red Robin are considered songbirds. Their songs are early alarms for people and they love hearing them. Red Robins make sounds to impress females or defend their territory from others. Robins have a slightly harsh sound while Cardinals make more melodious and appealing sounds.  

🟡Breeding habits–  Red Robins lay 2 to 5 eggs at once, in sky blue, Blue-green, and unmarked. On the other hand, Cardinals lay 5 to 6 eggs in greyish-white, greenish-white, and pale grey.  

🟡Interaction with humans– These birds are interactive with humans even though they are territorial. They spend most of their time finding food near the urban areas. They develop trust with people when they get food from them.

Threads and conservations

Red Robins and Cardinals are highly adaptable to their surroundings. They can adjust to weather conditions and food resources. Because of the flexible interaction with humans, they depend on people to find food. 

Every year, Red Robins have up to three broods. Because the mortality rate of the hatchling is high in Robins, a large number of newborns do not survive. The same happens in the case of the Cardinals. 

The main threat to these birds is the predators. Both birds are prey to a wide variety of predators, including eagles, owls, and hawks. The predators of chicks and eggs include snakes, crows, squirrels, chipmunks, and house cats.  


Sometimes, you may confuse recognizing the difference between Red Robin and Cardinals. But when you notice certain factors like their appearance, voice, and behaviours, you can easily spot them. 

We can identify them with their colour because Cardinals have bright red all over their body while Red Robins are reddish orange. The main difference between the birds is their beaks. Cardinals have red, short, and cone-shaped beaks, while Red Robins have slightly longer and yellow-pointed beaks. 

If you want to attract these beautiful birds to your garden, then feed them with their favourites. You can feed cardinals with seeds, grains, and small fruits and Robins with fruits and berries. So, planting fruit trees and shrubs that bear berries helps to invite these feathered friends. I hope this article helped you to spot the difference between Red Robin and Cardinal.  

Characteristics of Red Robin and Cardinal

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