|Male northern cardinal|
Historically, the South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria have been placed in the tanager family Thraupidae. However, DNA analysis of the genera Piranga (which includes the scarlet tanager, summer tanager, and western tanager), Chlorothraupis, and Habia showed their closer relationship to the cardinal family.  They have been reassigned to that family by the American Ornithological Society. 
(1) "Masked" clade:
- Yellow cardinal, Gubernatrix cristata
- Genus Periporphyrus
- Red-and-black grosbeak, Periporphyrus erythromelas
- Genus Caryothraustes
- Genus Rhodothraupis
- Crimson-collared grosbeak, Rhodothraupis celaeno
- Genus Cardinalis
Piranga (formerly under Thraupidae)
- Rose-throated tanager, Piranga roseogularis
- Hepatic tanager, Piranga flava
- Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea
- Summer tanager, Piranga rubra
- Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
- Flame-colored tanager, Piranga bidentata
- White-winged tanager, Piranga leucoptera
- Red-headed tanager, Piranga erythrocephala
- Red-hooded tanager, Piranga rubriceps
(2) "Blue" clade:
- Genus Amaurospiza
- Genus Cyanocompsa
- Genus Cyanoloxia
- Glaucous-blue grosbeak, Cyanoloxia glaucocaerulea
- Genus Passerina, North American buntings
- Genus Spiza
- Dickcissel, Spiza americana
(3) Ant tanager clade:
- Genus Habia (formerly under Thraupidae)
- Genus Chlorothraupis (formerly under Thraupidae)
(4) "Chat" clade:
- Genus Granatellus (formerly under Parulidae)
(5) "Pheucticus" clade:
- Genus Pheucticus
They are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family's smallest member is the 12-cm (4.7-in), 11.5-g (0.40-oz) orange-breasted bunting. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances. The northern cardinal type species was named by colonists for the male's red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal's biretta. 
The "North American buntings" are known as such to distinguish them from buntings of the Old World family Emberizidae. The name "cardinal-grosbeak" can also apply to the cardinalid family as a whole.
- Yuri, T.; Mindell, D. P. (May 2002). "Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Fringillidae, "New World nine-primaried oscines" (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (2): 229–243. doi: 10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00012-X. PMID 12069553.
- "Family: Cardinalidae". American Ornithological Society. Retrieved Feb 1, 2019.
- Duchesne, Bob (September 21, 2012). "Proliferation of cardinals a fairly recent event". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
- Search "cardinalidae" at IUCN Red List Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine for more info.
- Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
- Hilty, Steven L (2003) Birds of Venezuela London: Christopher Helm, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
- ffrench, Birds of Trinidad and Tobago ISBN 0-7136-6759-1
- "National Geographic" Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
- Klicka, John; Burns, Kevin; Spellman, Garth M. (December 2007). "Defining a monophyletic Cardinalini: A molecular perspective". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45 (3): 1014–1032. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.550.1550. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2007.07.006. PMID 17920298.
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