Select Page

The Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is a spectacularly colored bird, native to North America and often seen in small flocks. With its distinctive wax-like red tips on the wings and tail feathers, this species stands out among other birds of similar size. Its diet consists primarily of fruit and insects, making it an important pollinator for many plants and trees across the continent. As well as being beautiful, the Cedar Waxwing has some interesting behaviors that make it a fascinating subject for research.

This article examines the biology of the Cedar Waxwing; from its habitat preferences to its nesting habits. It will also look at how human activity affects their population numbers, highlighting conservation efforts that can help ensure continued survival of this species into future generations. Finally, it will explore why this particular species appears so attractive to humans, both aesthetically and behaviorally.

Cedar waxwing

Physical Characteristics

The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized songbird with attractive features. It has gray feathers, a yellow band at the end of its tail, and white stripes along the edge of its wings. Its head is crowned with a crest that can be raised or lowered depending on mood – usually when excited. The belly of this species has red streaks which contrasts against the rest of their plumage.

Their diet consists mainly of fruit and sometimes insects as well as nectar from flowers. They also eat berries in large numbers during winter months to survive colder temperatures. Their curved bills are designed for picking fruits off trees and shrubs without damaging them too much, making them ideal for dispersing seeds throughout forests and gardens.

Cedar Waxwings travel long distances in flocks but return to their breeding grounds each year to mate and raise young birds before migrating again come fall season. This behavior helps ensure successful reproduction while avoiding harsh weather conditions they may encounter elsewhere.

Habitat And Distribution

The cedar waxwing is a bird with an impressive habitat range, spanning from Alaska and Canada to the southern United States. While their preferred habitats can be found in woodlands across temperate zones and boreal forests, they are also known to inhabit successional shrubland and residential areas. In North America, they can typically be found nesting along riparian corridors, orchards and open fields.

Though these birds have adapted well to urbanized settings, they remain migratory creatures that travel long distances throughout the year. Waxwings will migrate south as far as Mexico during the colder months of winter.

There has even been documented evidence of individuals traveling all the way down to Central America for short periods!

The species’ breeding range spans across most parts of North America; however, it tends to vary depending on region. For example, while some populations breed annually in British Columbia and southeastern Alberta every year, others may only appear every few years within this same area.

Overall, cedar waxwings need open areas with plenty of food sources such as berries or insects available nearby in order to thrive.

This makes them easily adaptable when it comes to finding suitable land for raising young ones – something many other small-bird species struggle with due to human disturbances. As a result, they tend to find themselves inhabiting parks, gardens and other green spaces where food is abundant enough for them to survive on until temperatures allow them greater freedom of movement once again.

Diet And Feeding Habits

The cedar waxwing has an omnivorous diet, consuming a wide variety of both plant and animal foods. In addition to the insects they often consume during breeding season, the waxwing is also drawn to fruit trees and berry bushes in search of sweet fruits. During this time, they will flock together in groups as they forage on their food sources.

When it comes to finding food, the waxwings have strong preferences determined by their nutritional needs. For instance, some birds are attracted more strongly than others to specific types of berries such as mulberries or dogwood berries. Waxwings may also seek out alternative sources that provide energy-rich nutrition like tree sap from conifers or suet cakes placed at bird feeders.

In terms of foraging behavior, cedar waxwings typically move around in large flocks while searching for food. They make frequent stops along their route and quickly disperse when danger arises before regrouping soon after. As part of their daily routine, these birds will usually spend several hours every day looking for food:

  • With an appetite for both plants and animals, cedar waxwings can be seen eating a range of different items from insect larvae to tree sap
  • These birds have strong preferences based on their nutritional needs; they favor certain types of berries over others depending on seasonal availability
  • Waxwings travel in large flocks while hunting for food; they pause frequently throughout their journey and scatter if threatened before reconvening afterwards
  • Cedar waxwings dedicate several hours each day to scouring suitable habitats for sustenance that meets their dietary needs

As with other species within its family group Bombycillidae (or “silky flycatchers”), the cedar waxwing is primarily a frugivore—that is, it feeds mainly on fruits found in nature rather than seeds available at bird feeders.

While these small birds do depend heavily on fruits to satisfy most of its caloric requirements, it still relies occasionally on protein-rich insects like caterpillars and beetle larvae when feeding young ones or during periods where ripe fruits are scarce.

Breeding And Mating Habits

The Cedar Waxwing breeds during the spring and summer in North America, with a few birds occasionally found as far south as Mexico. Mating behavior is not well understood, but it appears that once paired off, both sexes participate equally in nest building.

The typical clutch size for this species is between two and four eggs. It has also been observed that mate selection may occur by males chasing after potential mates while singing songs to them.

During breeding season, male Cedar Waxwings are known to exhibit territorial behaviors towards other males of their own species, sometimes fighting over food or other resources such as nesting materials. Both parents will take part in feeding young chicks until they fledge from the nest around 15 days after hatching. While on the nest, chicks can be identified by their bright yellow mouths and throats compared to the adults’ grayish-white coloration.

After fledgling occurs, juveniles remain together with both parents where they learn how to find food before becoming independent at about five weeks old. In addition to learning how to hunt for insects and berries, immature birds must also master flight techniques which includes soaring up thermals in order to gain altitude without expending too much energy flapping its wings.

Once these skills have been perfected juvenile Cedar Waxwings disperse away from their family groups into new areas looking for territories of their own ready for next year’s breeding season.

Behavior And Social Structure

The Cedar Waxwing is an active and sociable bird. It can often be seen in large flocks of up to dozens or even hundreds of birds, especially during the winter months. The waxwings are known for their lively social behavior, which includes group dynamics such as ‘mobbing’ and chasing one another through the air.

In addition to being gregarious, these birds also have distinct nesting habits that influence their flight patterns. Cedar Waxwings build nests together in deciduous trees with dense foliage near water sources. During breeding season, males will perform aerial displays to attract females before mating occurs. Females typically lay 2-5 eggs per clutch, incubating them for about two weeks until they hatch.

Cedar Waxwings display a number of behaviors throughout their life cycle from courtship to migration. These activities form vital components of the bird’s survival mechanisms and define its place within the ecosystem it inhabits. Further study into this species’ social structure is necessary to understand how its behavior impacts other wildlife populations and habitats around the world.

Cedar waxwing

Conservation Status

The Cedar Waxwing is a lovely, small songbird that is an important part of the North American avian community. This species has experienced population decline in recent decades due to habitat loss and other factors. As such, conservation efforts are being made to ensure its continued survival.

The conservation status of the Cedar Waxwing ranges from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ according to different organizations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which evaluates endangered species on a global scale, lists the bird as ‘Least Concern’ with stable populations across most of its range.

However, local populations may be threatened by human activities or natural disasters such as hurricanes and disease outbreaks, so it remains important to monitor these areas closely.

In order to protect this species, wildlife protection initiatives have been implemented in certain regions where their numbers have decreased significantly. These efforts include land management practices designed to restore habitats for waxwings and reduce threats posed by humans.

Additionally, captive breeding programs have been started in some locations to provide birds with safe environments until they can be released back into the wild successfully. All of these measures help increase the overall chances of successful conservation outcomes for this beautiful creature.

Overall, there are many ways people can support the ongoing conservation effort for Cedar Waxwings including contributing financially, volunteering time and/or resources at events that promote awareness about endangered species conservation and maintaining healthy ecosystems for all animals near our homes and beyond.

Interaction With Humans

The Cedar Waxwing is known to have an amicable relationship with humans. This species of bird often interacts in close proximity and can be seen around residential areas, parks, gardens, and other urban settings.

Overall, the positive interactions between humans and the Cedar Waxwing result in mutual benefits for both parties involved. Human enthusiasm towards nature helps conserve wildlife while providing entertainment opportunities along with knowledge about local flora and fauna. As we learn more about our environment and appreciate what it provides us, perhaps then we can develop better strategies to protect it.


The cedar waxwing is a fascinating bird, with its distinctive crest and bright yellow throat. It is found in wooded areas across much of North America, where it feeds on a variety of fruits, insects and even small frogs or lizards. The breeding season for these birds typically occurs between April and July and involves an elaborate courtship ritual that includes singing duets and exchanging food items such as berries.

Cedar waxwings form large social groups outside the mating season, often gathering in flocks to feed or travel together. They are also one of the few species of songbirds that migrate south during wintertime. Although their populations remain stable throughout most of their range, human activities like habitat destruction can affect their numbers if left unchecked.

Overall, the cedar waxwing is an interesting species worth learning more about. Its colorful plumage and sociable behaviors make it a favorite among birdwatchers everywhere. With conservation efforts in place, we can ensure this beautiful creature continues to thrive in our forests for years to come.