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Cedar Waxwing

ID Info
Silhouette WaxwingsWaxwings
Cedar WaxwingBombycilla cedrorum
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Bombycillidae

Basic Description

A treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is 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. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.

More ID Info
image of range map for Cedar Waxwing
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Cedar Waxwings are often heard before they’re seen, so learn their high-pitched call notes. Look for them low in berry bushes, high in evergreens, or along rivers and over ponds. Be sure to check big flocks of small birds: waxwings are similar to starlings in size and shape, and often form big unruly flocks that grow, shrink, divide, and rejoin like starling flocks.

Other Names

  • Ampelis Americano (Spanish)
  • Jaseur d'Amérique (French)

Backyard Tips

Cedar Waxwings love fruit. To attract waxwings to your yard, plant native trees and shrubs that bear small fruits, such as dogwood, serviceberry, cedar, juniper, hawthorn, and winterberry.

This species often comes backyards if food is offered. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Bird-friendly Winter Gardens, Birdsleuth, 2016.

  • Cool Facts