Waxwings are characterized by their brown and pale gray coloring with silky feathers, a black and white eyestripe, a crest of feathers, a square shaped tail and pointed wings. Some of the waxwings have red tips on their feathers. Waxwings are drawn to the sound of running water because they love to bathe and drink from shallow creeks.
A Cedar Waxwing at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
A Cedar Waxwing at Schoolhouse Ridge North.
© Bill Telfair

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

• Cedar Waxwings are one of the few North American birds that eat fruit. They can survive on just fruit alone for a few months.
• Because they like to eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings sometimes can become intoxicated and die when they eat overripe berries or other fruit that has started to ferment and produce alcohol.
• Cedar Waxwings are very social birds that form large flocks and often build nests in loose clusters of a dozen or so other birds nests.
• In courtship dances, males and females hop towards each other and alternate back and forth sometimes touching beaks. Male waxwings sometimes pass a small item like fruit, an insect, or a flower petal to the female. After taking the gift the female hops away and then returns the gift to the male. They then repeat this until the female eats the gift.

Identification Information

• Size: Between a sparrow and robin (Small/Medium)
• Color: Cedar Waxwings are pale brown on their head and chest and this fades into a light gray on their wings. They have pale yellow bellies and their tail is gray with a bright yellow tip. On their face they have a narrow black mask with a white stripe outlining it. Sometimes they have red waxy tips on their feathers.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
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