Fun Bohemian Waxwing Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
May 17, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Bohemian waxwing facts about a North American bird species.

The Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla Garrulus) is found in the northern forest of the Palearctic and North America. They are medium-sized passerines, also known as songbirds or perching birds belonging to the family Bombycillidae.

The plumage is mainly buff grey with black markings on the face and pointed crest. The wings have white and bright yellow patterns with some feather tips colored red waxy, hence their name.

The three subspecies are not very different from one another. Also, a female Bohemian waxwing is similar to the males, in plumage and color-wise. They have a short tail which is brownish-grey.

The males have black masks across their faces and black throat. The Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) will prune its feathers to keep them dense and in good condition.

They are very quiet during the winter months, normally searching for food in towns and urban areas. They are known to metabolize alcohol produced in fermenting food, which may lead to fatal intoxication many times.

Out of the three subspecies, one is found in the Ural mountains in northern Europe. The second one is found in the Urals eastwards across northern Asia.

The third is found in northwestern North America. Bohemian waxwing birds can eat huge numbers of berries in a day, almost 100s which is more than double their weight. After reading about these North American birds, you may also look at yellow warbler facts and palm warbler facts.

Bohemian Waxwing Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Bohemian waxwing?

Bohemian waxwing (family Bombycillidae) is a type of perching bird and songbird found in the northwestern region of North America. It is known for its carefree attitude towards life, hence the name Bohemian.

What class of animal does a Bohemian waxwing belong to?

The Bohemian waxwing belongs to the class of birds, or Aves, in the animal kingdom. It lays eggs like all birds.

How many Bohemian waxwings are there in the world?

The number of bohemian waxwings found in the world is 4.6 million. Their population has declined by 50% since the '70s. However, it is rising and is stable according to new studies. These birds live in large flocks and wander around in search of food sources.

Where does a Bohemian waxwing live?

The Bohemian waxwing is found in the Nearctic and Palearctic regions of North America. During breeding, they can be found in the Nearctic region as far as central Alaska to the central part of Ontario.

They are rarely found south of British Columbia. Bohemian waxwings are also not found north of Alaska or Nova Scotia. In March or April, they will travel south and southwest of British Columbia and to the northern region of the United States.

In the Palearctic, region breeding takes place in the Northern part of Eurasia, mostly in Russia, Siberia, and Scandinavia. Bohemian waxwings will migrate to south and central Europe and east to central Japan in the non-breeding season.

What is a Bohemian waxwing's habitat?

During the breeding season, the Bohemian waxwing habitat is in coniferous-deciduous woodlands. They will be found around streams, lakes, and swamps. They will reside in areas where there are many fruiting trees. Bohemian waxwings migrate during spring and fall to look for regions with high fruits, including urban areas.

While their nest construction is ongoing, these birds tend to have a large frequency range. They will relocate based on food availability. During winters, they are found in woodlands, scrublands, or farmlands where fruits remain on branches.

Who do Bohemian waxwings live with?

Bohemian waxwings are known to be solitary birds even though they share their living region with other birds. There may not be much interaction between them. During the breeding season, too, the pair live by themselves. In urban regions, they can be found on the outskirts of large cities.

How long does a Bohemian waxwing live?

The longest a Bohemian waxwing has lived in the wild is for 5 years in North America. In Europe, Bohemian waxwings live for a little longer at 12 years. They may live less than this in the wild due to various reasons.

How do they reproduce?

The mates are found during the winter and spring flock through courtship feeding behavior and courtship hopping. This happens when the males and females are perched and hop from branch to other to move towards each other until they are close enough to touch the bill.

This happens several times. It is believed that the waxy red tips on the feather also attract females.

Their breeding habitat is coniferous or deciduous- coniferous forests near water. The male and female Bohemian waxwings build a lined cup-shaped nest in a tree or bush, closer to the trunk. The female will incubate a clutch of three to seven eggs for 13-14 days.

When the chicks hatch from the eggs, they are naked and altricial and are fed by both parents. They are fed insects initially and then fruits.

They fledge after 14-16 days. They leave their nest by the winter and migrate further south.

What is their conservation status?

As the population of Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) is stable and increasing, the conservation status for them is also of Least Concern. They are found in abundance in their wide area of breeding and migration.  

Bohemian Waxwing Fun Facts

What do Bohemian waxwings look like?

A Bohemian waxwing on a plant bearing berries.

They are starling-sized birds with a gray-colored crest with a chestnut. Their tail’s tip has a yellow band. The male Bohemian waxwing has a throat patch larger than the females. The red tips on Bohemian waxwing’s secondary feathers give them their unique name.

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute with dull grey bodies and bright yellow and red in their feathers which form a lovely pattern. They have a crest that makes them look cuter. They are small birds with shrill voice and amazing temperament.

How do they communicate?

Bohemian waxwings communicate using their calls. The social calls sound like a thrilling ‘zeeeeee’. The hatchlings will use a softer version of it to communicate with their parents.

The basic Bohemian waxwing call is a rapid trill, high pitched at a variety of frequencies but lower than their cedar waxwings cousins. During the mating season, they use a softer high-pitched social call. There is a wide frequency of their mating calls too.

There is the Bohemian waxwing song which they sing while building nests too. A long descending whistle means a disturbance call. This is used to alarm their partners during nest building or incubation.

How big is a Bohemian waxwing?

The Bohemian waxwing range of length is 7.5-9.1 in with a wingspan of 12.6 -14 in. They are normally larger than a bluebird and smaller than an American robin.

How fast can a Bohemian waxwing fly?

The Bohemian waxwing can fly at a good enough speed. It is rarely seen on the ground. The bird is known to perch from one branch to the other on fruit trees. Since it is a seasonal migratory bird, Bohemian waxwings may fly long distances in search of enough food for it to sustain itself for months.

How much does a Bohemian waxwing weigh?

The Bohemian waxwing weighs 1.9 oz. It is the size of a starling or a songbird which are small and compact.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female species of the Bohemian waxwing. They are known as male Bohemian waxwings and female Bohemian waxwings respectively.

What would you call a baby Bohemian waxwing?

The baby Bohemian waxwing is called a hatchling or fledgling.

What do they eat?

The Bohemian waxwing bird's diet comprises insects and fruits across their habitat in North and South America. Birds of this species love their diet of sugary berries and have large livers to convert sugars into energy.

They can metabolize ethanol from the fermentation of sugary food. They mainly eat insects while in flight, especially mosquitos and midges. The newborns are fed insects initially and later berries as part of their diet.

This species may feed on flowers or sap of the tree when fruits are not found easily. Their favorite berries are rowan, mountain ash, and juniper.

Are they aggressive?

Bohemian waxwings are not known to be aggressive towards each other. The males will protect their females while nesting or if someone else attempts to breed with them. Otherwise, this species is known as a pretty chill bird.

Would they make a good pet?

Bohemian waxwings may make a cool pet. This species is noisy, has pretty coloring, especially on its wing feathers, and is known to be a social bird at the same time prefers to be alone too.

Did you know...

A group of Bohemian waxwings is collectively known as a museum or earful of waxwings.

Like many songbirds, Bohemian waxwings do not have a breeding territory or a true song.

This species is known as the GPS tracker for berries as they can find berries almost anywhere they go.

There are three species of waxwings which are the Bohemian waxwing of North America and Eurasia, the Cedar waxwing of North America, and the Japanese waxwing of eastern Asia.

Their eyes are dark brown, and their legs are dark grey to black.

Their flock could be 200-3000 birds.

The Bohemian waxwing has long pointed wings that allow them to fly faster. This species can fly direct for short distances with steady wing beats.

The genus name, Bombycilla, comes from the Latin Cilla (tail) and bombyx (silk) and refers to the silky-soft plumage of the bird. The species name Garrulus means quarrelsome or noisy.

When you compare Bohemian cedar waxwing vs. Bohemian waxwing, you will notice considerable differences in their appearance. The Bohemian waxwing is gray with a peach-colored mask and an under tail that is of a rusty color. On the other hand, the cedar waxwing has a brown-colored body with a yellow-colored belly and breast region.

What are Bohemian waxwing's favorite plants?

The Bohemian waxwing loves juniper, mountain ash, and rowan; otherwise, Sorbus berries, including hawthorn, cotoneaster, and rosehips.

How far away can Bohemian waxwings be heard?

They are known to wander like a band of vagabonds, and therefore their name has the word Bohemian. Their wings make a distinctive rattling sound that can be heard nearly 100 ft (30.5 m) away when a flock of Bohemian waxwings lands or takes off.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the scarlet macaw and the Senegal parrot.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Bohemian waxwing coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Chandan Shukla picture

Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

Read full bio >