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Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum

Cedar Waxwing Characteristics
Life Cycle


 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Passeriformes
 Family: Bombycillidae
 Genus: Bombycilla

Cedar Waxwing
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least Concern Least Concern
    Audio Credit: Tayler Brooks cc logo

Cedar WaxwingThe cedar waxwing is brown on top and pale yellow on its belly. It has a crest of feathers on its head and a black mask lined with white on its face. The cedar waxwing has black legs and feet and a short black bill. It has darker gray wings with a short waxy red tip. Its tail has a yellow tip.

Some cedar waxwings in the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada will have an orange tip on their tails. This is caused by their having eaten the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle, Morrow's honeysuckle, while their tail feathers were growing. Male and female cedar waxwings look alike.

cedar waxwingThe cedar waxwing's breeding range runs from the southern half of Canada to the northern half of the United States. The cedar waxwing's winter range stretches from the United States and Mexico south to Panama.
The cedar waxwing lives in open woodlands, orchards and residential areas, especially those with fruit-bearing trees and bushes.
Cedar WaxwingThe cedar waxwing is mostly frugivorous.
That means it is a fruit eater! Most of its diet is made up of berries, especially in the winter. Berries play a large role in the cedar waxwing's breeding, social and migratory behavior. Cedar waxwings will perch on a branch and pluck berries or it will hover in the air and grab berries. In the northern part of their range, the cedar berry is a large part of their diet.

Cedar WaxwingCedar waxwings will sometimes pass berries to one another as they perch in a line on a tree branch. Occasionally a cedar waxwing will become drunk or even die from eating berries that have fermented. The cedar waxwing will also eat sap, flowers and insects. They occasionally wait for an insect to fly by and then take off after it and catch it in the air.
  Life Cycle
Cedar WaxwingMating season begins in late spring and runs through late summer. The male courts a female by doing a hopping dance and passing berries or pieces of fruit to the female. If the female is interested, she will do a hopping dance and pass the fruit or berry back to the male! The pair may do this a number of times in a row! After pairs form, the female chooses a nest site. The nest is cup-shaped and made of bark, twigs, moss, and grass. The nest is usually made in a conifer tree.

Cedar WaxwingThe female cedar waxwing lays four to six eggs. She will incubate the eggs for about 12 days. The male will bring her food and guard the nest while she incubates the eggs. The chicks are born blind and naked. Both parents feed the chicks. The chicks fledge in about two weeks. Both parents will continue to feed them for 6-10 days after they fledge.

Cedar WaxwingCedar waxwings are very social birds. They are non-territorial and will often groom each other. They travel in flocks of 40 or more birds. They often will appear in a spot with a good crop of berries. When they have eaten all the berries, they move on!



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