Cedar Waxwings Interesting Facts
What type of animal are cedar waxwings?
Cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) are a type of bird.
What class of animal does a cedar waxwing belong to?
Cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) belong to the class Aves. It is a bird species.
How many cedar waxwings are there in the world?
Currently, there are 52 million cedar waxwings in the wild.
Where do cedar waxwings live?
These birds live in open woodlands in the northern states of the United States of America and Canada.
What is a cedar waxwing's habitat?
A cedar waxwing's habitat is usually located at the edge of wooded areas. However, these birds prefer to nest in open forests, around fruiting trees that bear berries.
Who do cedar waxwings live with?
Cedar waxwings are North American birds that live in large flocks consisting of hundreds of birds. Cedar waxwings live with other birds of the same species when it is not their breeding season.
How long does a cedar waxwing live?
On average, both males and females will live for eight years in the wild. Males and females also reach sexual maturity at the age of one year. The oldest waxwing to live in the wild on record was seven years old.
How do they reproduce?
When their mating season begins around spring, the male cedar waxwings perform a 'hopping' dance to court females, and if the females are interested, they hop back. Cedar waxwings also pass objects like flower petals or insects back and forth during courtship rituals. Sometimes, a pair that is mating will rub their beaks together in a display of affection.
What is their conservation status?
Cedar waxwings are evaluated as Least Concern, and their population has been increasing, according to the Cornell Lab Of Ornithology. They are not very rare and can be spotted now and then. Scientists speculate this increase in population is due to agricultural or commercial fields turning into shrublands again. The increase in the population of these birds in urban areas is due to the use of berry trees in modern landscaping.
Cedar Waxwing Fun Facts
What do cedar waxwings look like?
Adult cedar waxwings have silky gray and brown feathers on their upper body. In addition, they have pale yellow plumage on their breast and belly. The term 'waxwing' comes from the droplets of wax-like substance located at the tip of their secondary wing feathers. The wax droplets are bright red, and their function or purpose is unknown, though it is suspected that they are used to attract females.
Their tails are square with a bright yellow band at the end. Sometimes their tail band can be orange. Depending on their diet (especially if they feed on the Eurasian honeysuckle trees' berry) these birds can grow orange tail feathers. The male and female do not have many distinguishing features, except the male having a darker chin patch. Young ones have gray streaks on their belly which become smooth when they become an adult.
How cute are they?
Their bright red wing feather tips, their yellow-colored tail (which can also be an orange color), and the feathers around their eyes that look like a black mask make them look very beautiful and cute. They resemble other birds like starlings in their wing shape and the way their flocks behave. If you spot this bird, you will admire its beauty, and its petite size gives it a cute appearance.
How do they communicate?
Waxwings communicate through vocal as well as physical signals. They can produce several high-pitched calls, and they raise their crests to display anxiety. They show their aggression by opening their beaks and ruffling their wing feathers. A female adult can also ruffle her feathers to reject courtship. Their waxy red tips are also rumored to attract partners.
How big are cedar waxwings?
These waxwings have a wingspan range of 9-12 in (22-30 cm). Their size also has a range from 6-7 in (15.5-17.7 cm). Thus, they are about as big as a sparrow and half the size of an American crow.
How fast can they fly?
They are swift fliers and can fly at a speed of 25 mph (40 kph). Their flight is very strong and direct with the rapid movement of their wings.
How much does a cedar waxwing weigh?
These birds weigh roughly 1.1 oz (30 g). The female can get heavier than the male during the breeding season. A Japanese waxwing (with the scientific name Bombycilla japonica) weighs 0.11-0.14 lb (54-64 g).
What are the male and female names of the species?
Males and females do not have any separate names. Instead, they are both called Bombycilla cedrorum.
What would you call baby cedar waxwings?
Like young ones of other birds, baby cedar waxwings can also be called 'chicks' or 'fledglings'.
What do they eat?
These birds have a fruit diet almost all year round. Their diet consists of berries like cedar berries, holly berries, Eurasian honeysuckle berries, strawberries, and other small fruit. Most birds cannot survive on fruits alone, yet this is the major food in the cedar's diet. Food is sufficient in the summer in the form of fruits. They also eat insects in the breeding season and when trees are not fruiting.
Summer is their breeding season, and they feed their babies fruit and insects. Berries are swallowed whole by these birds and by the baby birds. Sometimes the fruit can be too ripe and start to ferment, therefore producing alcohol. When the bird consumes fruits or berries that are fermented, they either become ill or sadly sometimes die.
Are they dangerous?
They are not dangerous to human beings or any other wildlife as they are mainly herbivores feeding on fruits.
Would they make a good pet?
No, as, despite their calm personality and trusting nature, it is illegal to keep them as pets in the United States.
Did you know...
They are very social birds that form large flocks and build nests together, with a dozen nests in a cluster.
If a cluster of berries is hard to pick for multiple birds, they form a line and pass them down to feed all the members equally.
The female does most of the nest building, and once she has laid the eggs (usually four to five eggs one day at a time) the male keeps watch for predators while the female incubates the nest. The male also brings food to the nest.
They breed during summer and migrate south during winter. There have been sightings of this bird in Europe during winter.
Females steal material from nearby nests to save time when making their own nests.
These birds do not get attracted to feeders very easily, but once they find feeders with many fruits and berries in, there's no going back.
What is a flock of cedar waxwings called?
A flock of cedar waxwing birds is called an 'earful' or a 'museum' of waxwings.
What is the difference between cedar waxwings and Bohemian waxwings?
Although they are similar species, they have very different appearances. To start with, Bohemian waxwings are gray overall with a peach blush around their mask. On the other hand, cedars are brown and gray with a black mask that has white outlines. A Bohemian's under-tail has a rusty color, whereas, a white under-tail is characteristic of cedars. Finally, a Bohemian waxwing's size range is 7.5-9 in (19-23 cm), and a cedar's range is smaller at 6-7 in (15.5-17.7 cm).
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Japanese wagtail facts and common snipe facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable cedar waxwing coloring pages.