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Bohemian Waxwing

Bombycilla garrulus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: BOMBYCILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Bohemian Waxwing is an irregular winter visitor from the far North. It comes primarily to states and provinces along the United States/Canada border, a bit farther southward in the West.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
6.3–7.5 in
16–19 cm
Wingspan
13 in
33 cm
Weight
1.6–2.4 oz
45–69 g
Other Names
  • Jaseur boréal, Jaseur de Boheme (French)
  • Ampelis europeo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The name "Bohemian" refers to the nomadic movements of winter flocks. It comes from the inhabitants of Bohemia, meaning those that live an unconventional lifestyle or like that of gypsies.
  • The Bohemian Waxwing does not hold breeding territories, probably because the fruits it eats are abundant, but available only for short periods. One consequence of this non-territorial lifestyle is that it has no true song. It does not need one to defend a territory.
  • Only three species of waxwings exist. The Bohemian and Japanese waxwings have white edges to the wing feathers, but the Cedar Waxwing does not. An unusual Cedar Waxwing was found with the ornate wing pattern, suggesting that the ancestor of all three species had a patterned wing.

Habitat


Forest

Breeds in open coniferous or mixed forests, especially taiga. Winters wherever fruits are found, including gardens, parklands, and cities.

Food


Insects

Fleshy fruit and insects.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
Pale blue-gray with sparse black spots.
Condition at Hatching
Hatch naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest is a bulky open cup of twigs, grasses, and moss, camouflaged with a covering of mosses and lichens. Placed on tree branch near trunk.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Flycatches for flying insects; gleans insects from vegetation. Plucks fruit while perched, or may hover briefly to snatch fruit. Swallows entire fruit.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations stable or increasing.

Credits

  • Witmer, M. 2002. Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus). In The Birds of North America, No. 714 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

    For more information about this species, visit Bird of the Week.

Range Map Help

Bohemian Waxwing Range Map
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