Cedar Waxwing – Call | Migration | Diet | Range | Song | Facts

Cedar Waxwing

The cedar waxwing, scientific name Bombycilla cedrorum is a member of the family Bombycillidae or waxwing family of passerine birds. It is a medium-sized, largely brown, grey, and yellow bird named for its wax-like wing ideas. In this article, I am going to talk about Cedar Waxwing call, migration, diet, range, song, vs bohemian waxing.

Cedar Waxwing profile

It is a local of North and Central America, breeding in open wooded areas in southern Canada and wintering within the southern half of the United States, Central America, and the far northwest of South America. Its food regimen consists of cedar cones, fruit, and bugs. The cedar waxwing is just not endangered.

The genus name Bombycilla comes from the Ancient Greek bombux, “silk” and the Modern Latin cilla, “tail”; it is a direct translation of the German Seidenschwanz, “silk-tail”, and refers back to the silky-soft plumage of those birds. The particular cedrorum is Latin for “of the cedars”.

Geographic Range

Cedar waxwings (Bombycillia cedrorum) are discovered solely in North America. Their breeding range extends all through the southern half of Canada and the northern half of the United States.

The winter range consists of the United States, Mexico, and Central America as far south as Panama.

They additionally winter within the Caribbean area. Many birds within the northern United States and excessive southern Canada are year-round residents.

Cedar Waxwing Description

Cedar waxwings are medium-sized birds roughly 6–7 in (15–18 cm) long and weighing roughly 30 g (1.1 oz). Wingspan ranges from 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm). They are smaller and browner than their shut relative, the Bohemian waxwing (which breeds farther to the north and west).

Their markings are a “silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers.”

These droplets stand out as the same color because of the madrone berries they’re identified to eat. These birds’ most distinguished function is that this small cluster of red wax-like droplets on ideas of secondary flight feathers on the wings, a function they share with the Bohemian waxwing (however not the Japanese waxwing).

The wings are “broad and pointed, like a starling’s.” The tail is usually yellow or orange relying on the diet.

Birds that have consumed berries of launched Eurasian honeysuckles whereas rising tail feathers could have darker orange-tipped tail-feathers. The tail is considerably brief and square-tipped. Adults have a pale yellow stomach.

The waxwing’s crest usually “lies flat and droops over the back of the head.” It has a brief and huge bill.

The waxwing’s black masks have a skinny white border. Immature birds are streaked on the throat and flanks and sometimes shouldn’t have the black masks of the adults. Males and females look alike.

The flight of waxwings is robust and direct, and the motion of the flock in flight resembles that of a flock of small pale European starlings. Cedar waxwings fly at 40 km/h (25 mph) and fly at an altitude of 610 m (2,000 ft).

Cedar waxwings are also called the southern waxwing, Canada robin, cedar bird, cherry bird, or recellet.

The oldest noticed cedar waxwing was eight years and two months old.

Cedar Waxwing Vocalizations

The two widespread calls of those birds embody very high-pitched whistles and buzzy trills a few half-second long usually represented as see or sree. Its name can be described as “high, thin, whistles.” The name usually, particularly in flight.


The oldest identified cedar waxwing lived 7 years within the wild.

Cedar Waxwing


Cedar waxwings are nomadic. Flocks of cedar waxwings transfer from place to position all through the year, besides through the breeding season. Some populations are additionally migratory.

Cedar waxwings are very social. The journey in flocks and don’t defend a territory, even though the breeding season. There could also be some social hierarchy inside flocks of cedar waxwings, however, this has not been studied.

Cedar Waxwing Communication and Perception

Cedar waxwings talk utilizing vocal and bodily alerts. They produce a number of calls which might be variations of both quickly repeated buzzy high-pitched notes or high-pitched hissy whistles.

These calls can talk about starvation, nervousness, well-being, and numerous different messages. They are produced by female and male adults in addition to chicks.

Cedar waxwings additionally talk utilizing bodily shows. For instance, they could talk nervousness by elevating the crest on their heads.

They can sign that they’re feeling threatened by opening their mouths and ruffling their feathers. Females often display this conduct to sign rejection of a male’s try at courtship.

Cedar Waxwing Distribution and habitat

Preferred habitat consists of bushes on the fringe of wooded areas, or “open” forests, particularly those that present entry to berry sources in addition to water. They are steadily seen in fruiting bushes.

Waxwings are drawn to the sound of working water and love to wash in and drink from shallow creeks. In the city or suburban environments, waxwings usually favor parkland with well-spaced bushes; golf programs, cemeteries, or different landscaping with well-spaced bushes; bushes that present berries; and a close-by water source equivalent to a fountain or birdbath.

Also search for them close to farms, orchards, and gardens, significantly ones with fruiting bushes or shrubs.

Outside the breeding season, cedar waxwings usually feed in massive flocks numbering tons of birds.

This species is nomadic and irruptive, with erratic winter actions, although many of the inhabitants migrate farther south into the United States and past, typically reaching so far as northern South America.

They will transfer in enormous numbers if berry provides are low. Rare vagrants have reached western Europe, and there are two recorded occurrences of cedar waxwing sightings in Great Britain.

Individual Bohemian waxwings will often be part of massive winter flocks of cedar waxwings.

Behavior and ecology

Cedar waxwings are sociable, seen in flocks year round. They are non-territorial birds and “will often groom each other.” They transfer from place to position relying on the place they will discover good sources of berries.

Cedar Waxwing Diet

The cedar waxwing eats berries and sugary fruit year-round, together with “dogwood, serviceberry, cedar, juniper, hawthorn, and winterberry”, with bugs turning into a vital part of the food regimen within the breeding season. Its fondness for the small cones of the eastern redcedar (a form of juniper) gave this bird its common name.

They eat berries entirely. They typically fly over water to catch bugs. The cedar waxwing is usually accountable for important injury to business fruit farms and thus will be thought of as a pest, particularly as a result of it feeds in massive teams.

When the top of a twig holds a supply of berries that just one bird at a time can attain, members of a flock might line up alongside the twig and cross berries beak to beak down the road so that every bird will get an opportunity to eat.

Sometimes, cedar waxwings will eat fruit that’s overripe and has begun to ferment, intoxicating the bird.

Cedar Waxwing Breeding

Mating season for this bird begins across the finish of spring and runs via late summer. The male will do a “hopping dance” for the feminine. If she is, she’ll hop back.

During courtship, the female and male will sit collectively and cross small objects back and forth, equivalent to flower petals or an insect. Mating pairs will typically rub their beaks collectively affectionately.

The nest is a free open cup constructed with grass and twigs, lined with softer supplies and supported by a tree department averaging 2 to six m (6.6 to 19.7 ft) above floor however, at occasions, significantly greater.

It takes around 5 – 6 days for the feminine waxwing to construct the nest and might take as much as 2,500 journeys back and forth. Sometimes the feminine will steal nest materials from different species’ nests to avoid wasting time.

The outer diameter of the nest is roughly 12 to 16 cm (4.7 to 6.3 in). Usually, 5 or 6 eggs are laid and the feminine incubates them for 11 to 13 days. The eggs are oval-shaped with an easy floor and little or no, if any, gloss.

The eggshells are of assorted shades of light or bluish-gray with irregular, darkish brown spots or greyish-brown splotches.

Both dad and mom construct the nest and feed the younger.

Typically, there are one or two broods through the mating season. Young depart the nest about 14 to 18 days after hatching.

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Waxwings are evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Populations are growing of their range partly as a result of fields are being allowed to develop into forests and shrublands, and fruiting bushes like mountain ash are being planted as landscaping.

On the opposite hand, cedar waxwings do typically crash into home windows, and get hit by automobiles whereas foraging alongside roadsides. Learn more about the Atlantic puffin.

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