Cedar Waxwing
Bombycilla cedrorum
Family Bombycillidae

The Cedar Waxwing is a sleek, gregarious, medium-sized backyard bird that is often observed plucking berries from bushes or plucking insects from midair.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Thin, black bill
  • Predominantly brown above
  • Underside is brown, fading to dusky tan towards tail
  • Pointed brown crest
  • Black face mask prominent
  • Short tail often washed with pale blue, tipped with a yellow band
  • Secondary wing feathers fringed with red
  • Juvenile: Plumage paler, greyer, with streaked underside
  • Size: 18 cm (7.5”)
  • Weight: 32 g (1.1 oz)
  Adult male  

Similar Species: Female Northern Cardinal has a thick, red bill and lacks yellow tail band.

Voice: The call of a Cedar Waxwing is a high, excited lisping sound: tzeeeee!

Habitat Cedar waxwings forage for fruit and insects in wooded areas and orchards; they often visit backyards, especially in winter.

Range: The Cedar Waxwing is a year-round resident from Maine south to the Carolinas.  Its breeding range extends into Canada, and it frequently wanders as far south as the Gulf Coast in winter.

Interesting Facts: Members of the family Bombycillidae (of which North America has only two) are called “waxwings” because their secondary wing feathers are tipped with a colorful, waxy substance.



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