Cedar WaxwingBombycilla cedrorum

adult
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
immature (1st yr)
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
juvenile
Rolf Nussbaumer/VIREO
adult
Garth McElroy/VIREO
tail feather color variation,Diet Related
Steven Holt/VIREO
Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

Family

Description

6 1/2-8" (17-20 cm). Smaller than a robin. A sleek, crested, brown bird with black mask, yellow tips (sometimes reddish) on tail feathers, and hard red wax-like tips on secondary wing feathers. Almost always seen in flocks.

Voice

A thin lisp, tseee.

Listen

rapid trilling
trills
seee calls
high chips
seee calls & trills

Habitat

Open woodlands, orchards, and residential areas.

Range

Breeds from southeastern Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to California, Illinois, and Virginia. Winters from British Columbia, Great Lakes region, and New England southward.

Discussion

Waxwings spend most of the year in flocks whose movements may be quite erratic. Hundreds will suddenly appear in an area to exploit a crop of berries, only to vanish when that crop is exhausted. Since the young are fed to some extent on small fruits, waxwings tend to nest late in the summer when there is a good supply of berries. Adults store food for the young in the crop, a pouch located in the throat, and may regurgitate as many as 30 choke cherries, one at a time, into the gaping mouths of the nestlings. In summer insects are also taken, the birds hawking for them like flycatchers. These social birds have the amusing habit of passing berries or even apple blossoms from one bird to the next down a long row sitting on a branch, until one bird eats the food.

Nesting

4-6 blue-gray eggs, spotted with dark brown and black, in a bulky cup of twigs and grass placed in a tree in the open.

Similar Species

adult

Red-whiskered Bulbul

8" (20 cm). Grayish above, whitish below, with long conspicuous black crest, red cheek patch and undertail coverts, and black, white-tipped tail.

adult, breeding

European Starling

7 1/2-8 1/2" (19-22 cm). Smaller than a robin. A short-tailed, chunky, iridescent black bird; long pointed bill, yellow in summer and dark in fall and early winter.

Bohemian Waxwing

7 1/2 -8 1/2" (19-22 cm). A sleek, gray-brown, crested bird. Similar to Cedar Waxwing but larger, grayer, and with conspicuous white wing patches and rusty (not white) undertail coverts.

adult male

Phainopepla

7-7 3/4" (18-20 cm). Larger than a sparrow. A slender, elegant bird with a conspicuous crest, longish tail, and upright posture. Male glossy black, with 2 white wing patches that show only in flight.

Vireo

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