The yellow cardinal feeds on grains and seeds that have fallen on the ground, as well as on fruit, worms and insects (3) (5). This species is usually found alone or in pairs, but has been known to travel in larger flocks during the non-breeding season (5) (7), particularly when it was more abundant in the past (7).
This bird mates in the spring of the southern hemisphere (2), typically constructing its nest between September and November (5), with eggs having been seen in November (2). The yellow cardinal makes a deep, round nest from twigs and straw, lining the inside with grasses, moss and lichens. The nests of this species are usually found in the branches or in a fork of a tree or shrub (3).
The female yellow cardinal usually lays two to four eggs (3) (5), and incubates them for approximately two weeks before the chicks hatch (5). The eggs are of a whitish to blue-green colour with black streaks and freckles (3). During the first week, yellow cardinal chicks grow very fast and when they are just 13 to 14 days old they start to leave the nest to perch on the surrounding branches. When this species is bred in captivity, both adults contribute to feeding the young, but the female spends more time keeping the nest warm while the male brings greater amounts of food. The yellow cardinal chicks become independent at around 35 days old (5).
Yellow cardinal males are very territorial and aggressive towards other males, and will try to chase intruders away. This particular behaviour is taken advantage of by trappers, as they will place a caged yellow cardinal in another’s territory to draw it towards the intruder (3).