The red-crested cardinal (Paroaria coronata) is a songbird, the species belonging to the family of tanagers (Thraupidae). Notwithstanding its similar name, this bird is not closely related to the true cardinal family (Cardinalidae). It is sometimes known as the Brazilian cardinal.
Red-crested Cardinal's are a medium-sized species showing a red head, with a red bib and a short red crest that the bird raises when excited. Belly, breast and undertail are white, with a gray back, wings, and tail. Wing coverts are gray, but the primaries, secondaries, and rectrices show a darker gray. Juveniles are similar to the adults, but they show a dull brownish orange head and bib.
This species is very similar to a close relative, the red-cowled cardinal (P. dominicana). It is also similar to the yellow-billed cardinal (P. capitata), but the latter bird has a black throat, darker upper parts and a bright yellow bill.