Bird Population Studies
Living Bird Magazine
Living Bird Magazine
Bohemian WaxwingBombycilla garrulus
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Bombycillidae
True to their name, Bohemian Waxwings wander like bands of vagabonds across the northern United States and Canada in search of fruit during the nonbreeding season. High-pitched trills emanate from the skies as large groups descend on fruiting trees and shrubs at unpredictable places and times. These regal birds sport a spiky crest and a peach blush across their face. Unlike the familiar Cedar Waxwing, they have rusty feathers under the tail and white marks on the wings.More ID Info
Find This Bird
The bohemian wanderings of this waxwing make them a little unpredictable to find. The best place for most people to see them is during migration and winter (September–March) in the northern United States and Canada, when they come south from their breeding range and move around in search of fruit. Check dense patches of fruiting shrubs like mountain ash and listen for their high-pitched trills. Watch the skies for tight flocks that descend en masse towards fruiting trees and shrubs. If you see or hear a group of American Robins or Cedar Waxwings, check the flock for Bohemian Waxwings as they sometimes flock together.
- Ampelis Europeo (Spanish)
- Jaseur boréal (French)
Bohemian Waxwing's nomadic nature makes it difficult to predict if and when they might show up in your yard. But they are fruit connoisseurs, so planting a native tree or shrub that holds its fruit late into the fall and winter may bring in any that pass through your area. Learn more about creating bird friendly yards at Habitat Network.They may eat fruits and sometimes visit platform feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best with the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds tool.
- Cool Facts
- Bohemian Waxwings are movers. One waxwing banded by researchers in British Columbia was recovered 13 months later in South Dakota. Another individual flew 280 miles in 11 days.
- Bohemian Waxwings, unlike many songbirds, do not hold breeding territories, and they also don't have a true song. Bohemian Waxwings communicate with high-pitched calls as they roam around in large groups looking for fruit.
- Only three species of waxwings exist in the world, the Bohemian Waxwing of North America and Eurasia, the Cedar Waxwing of North America, and the Japanese Waxwing of eastern Asia.
- Bohemian Waxwings have an uncanny ability to find fruit nearly everywhere, almost like they have a GPS tracker for berries. Flocks sometimes turn up in desert areas, find an isolated shrub, devour its fruit in minutes, and move on.
- Waxwings have red, waxy tips on some of their wing feathers and yellow tips on the tail. The color comes from carotenoid pigments found in the fruit waxwings eat. As the birds get older, the waxy tips get bigger.
- The oldest recorded Bohemian Waxwing was at least 5 years and 10 months old. Researchers banded the individual in 1968 in Saskatchewan and recovered the same individual in 1973.