The cardinal quelea (Quelea cardinalis) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae. It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The cardinal quelea is a small sparrow-like bird with a short heavy black bill, that breeds in colonies. The male in breeding plumage has a red head extending onto the breast but not onto the streaked nape. The female has a yellowish face, brow stripes and throat. The non-breeding plumage of the male resembles that of the female, but retains some red on its head.