Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Masked Cardinal (Paroaria nigrogenis)


French: Paroare masqué German: Schwarzohrtangare Spanish: Cardenilla enmascarada

Nemosia nigro-genis


, 1846,

mouth of the Orinoco, Venezuela


See P. gularis. Previously considered conspecific with P. gularis, but appears not to be genetically close enough to it to warrant such treatment, and differs in its black vs red ear-coverts (3); red vs black throat to central belly (3); horn vs black-tipped yellowish lower mandible (at least 1). Monotypic.


E Colombia (Arauca S to N Meta and N Vichada) and N Venezuela in llanos along R Orinoco Basin (Cojedes S to Barinas and W Apure, E to Delta Amacuro and N Bolívar); also Trinidad.

Descriptive notes

16·5 cm; 23·6 g. A medium-sized passerine, relatively slim and with flat crown, short, rounded occipital crest; bill longer than it is deep, and with culmen gently curved.... read more


Song described as series of whistled phrases, “ptchiu wheet pt pt chiu chiieuw wheet chiu chiieer... read more


Various open and moist habitats, including wet savanna, and edges of gallery forest near water;... read more

Food and feeding

Diet appears to be a mix of seeds, vegetable matter, fruit and insects; will also take handouts and bread crumbs. Forages usually on ground... read more


Season Jun–Nov in Venezuela (Guárico) and breeds in Sept in Trinidad. Nest a shallow cup made from fine stems and bark, lined with softer... read more


Appears to be sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common, particularly in llanos of Venezuela; common in larger swamps in Trinidad. Has large range, moderate abundance... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. (2020). Masked Cardinal (Paroaria nigrogenis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 February 2020).