The yellow cardinal (Gubernatrix Cristata) is a rare species of bird in the family Thraupidae. It is the only member of its genus Gubernatrix. It can be found in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. Its natural habitats are dry savanna, temperate shrubland, tropical moist shrubland, and temperate grassland. This Yellow Cardinal is prized as a songster and as a cage bird, but It is going into extinction because it’s abundance has decreased in a great percentage, due to loss of its natural habitats and also predation from pet trade trappers. For this reason, possession of yellow cardinal is prohibited because its possession by anyone has been stated to be illegal.
This bird is a cardinal that has yellow feathers because of a unique and uncommon genetic mutation that limited its ability to absorb red color, unlike the red cardinals. But similar to its red counterpart, this unique yellow cardinal depends on the organic pigments which is the carotenoids in its feeds, so as to make bright the yellow colour of its feathers.
Due to research, the carotenoid in the feed is not enough because it has been discovered that certain genes determine which carotenoid the bird deposits into its feathers and skin. For example, as published in 2003, red cardinals combines their red color from consuming four yellow or orange pigments. So it is concluded through research, that this bird can’t produce any of the four carotenoids found in the red cardinal’s feathers.
Though aside the red pigments being social signals, no physiological or health functions are known yet, this is to say that the absence of the red pigments in the yellow feathered cardinal, does not have any adverse effect on the birds’ health, except that, since the social signals are absent in them, they send the wrong signals which really makes it hard for them to find a mate and also defend himself.
The yellow cardinal has male and female sexes, and both sexes have a throat patch and a black crest. The male has a yellow eyebrow and malar stripe, yellow underparts and at the upper part, he is yellowish-olive and streaked. The female is similar to the male except for the facial stripes that are white, and she also has a grey breast and flanks, with a restriction of yellow to the belly.
The uniqueness of this bird makes every of its feeding spot a center of the tourist attraction as long as it is still there, an example of this is its visit to Geoffrey Hill’s backyard in Alabaster, Alabama.