Fun Japanese Waxwing Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Japanese Waxwing Facts For Kids

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There are a total of three species of waxwings namely the Bohemian waxwing, Japanese waxwing, and lastly Cedar waxwing. Both the Bohemian waxwing and the Cedar waxwing are seen in North America and other parts of the United States. The Japanese waxwing is native to Japan, Korea, and China. Bombycilla japonica bird species are sociable, however, they are rarely seen out in the open. These beautiful brown birds are a true delight to see for all birdwatchers and other people.

The Japanese waxwing (Bombycilla japonica) is a near-threatened species and this is primarily due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides in the plants and fruits they feed on. They are sociable beings and have distinct features which make it easy to identify them. These birds have cultural significance as well as waxwings are said to symbolize politeness and selflessness in terms of learning to give away what you have cherished all along. For more such relatable content, check out these eastern kingbird facts and swallow tailed kite facts.

Fun Japanese Waxwing Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

4-6 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.11-0.14 lb (54-64 g)

How long are they?

5.9-7 in (15-18 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Light brown with yellow tinged belly

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Hawks, Bullfrogs, Merlins, And Common Grackles

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Coniferous Forests


China, Japan, And Korea









Japanese Waxwing Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Japanese waxwing?

The Japanese waxwing (Bombycilla japonica) is a type of waxwing bird that belongs to the order Passeriformes.

What class of animal does a Japanese waxwing belong to?

The Japanese waxwing (Bombycilla japonica) is a bird that belongs to the class Aves, family Bombycillidae, and genus Bombycilla.  

How many Japanese waxwings are there in the world?

The Japanese waxwing bird's population size is unknown, however, their populations and distribution have been recorded as declining in recent years. The IUCN red list classifies the Japanese waxwing as a Near Threatened species.

Where does a Japanese waxwing live?

Since they are not endemic species they are seldom found in one region for longer durations. They are migratory birds and migrate to both short and long distances every year. They are seen in regions including Japan, Korea, and China.

What is a Japanese waxwing's habitat?

The Japanese waxwing habitat range constitutes coniferous forests and other mixed forest regions in trees. In winter, the Japanese waxwing migrates to other regions to find appropriate food to feed on and keep themselves away from the harsh conditions, hence they are found in normal temperate regions. They enjoy the summer climate.

Who do Japanese waxwings live with?

Japanese waxwings are never seen solitary, they are usually seen in large flocks more than a thousand in number. They migrate together to other regions in large flocks to often escape the harsh climatic conditions. Such species are truly majestic when seen together in flocks however, seeing them in large flocks is usually at higher elevations.

How long does a Japanese Waxwing live?

The average life expectancy of these birds is not known. The bohemian waxwing from North America is recorded to have lived up to five years and 10 months.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding season begins late. Courtship displays between the male and female are performed with raised crests and fluffed gray feathers to initiate breeding. This is usually performed by the male. The female breeding lays eggs by June and by August end juveniles hatch from their shells. The Japanese waxwing nest is built from materials like twigs and lichens which she builds prior to breeding. Females lay four to six eggs per clutch and they are incubated for two weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The Japanese waxwing (Bombycilla japonica) is classified as a Near Threatened species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). This is primarily due to loss of habitat and food, use of excessive pesticides, and other illegal and harmful practices which have led to such a state. The IUCN has a Japanese waxwing distribution map which provides information on where to find these rare species of birds.

Japanese Waxwing Fun Facts

What do Japanese waxwings look like?

The Japanese waxwing description includes firstly that they have sharp features on their face with a warm tawny color on the crown and the malar area. This is contrasted with a black mask chin and throat. Japanese waxwings have deep red to dark brown to black eyes. Japanese waxwing wings enable them to fly fast and are blackish or bluish-gray in color on the edges. Their tail too is blackish or dark gray with a bright pink-red terminal band at the edges or tip. This pink is not prominent in color and needs to be observed closely to examine the pinkish color. They have a loose crest, underparts including their belly that are lighter than the upper body, and the tips of their wings have a black and white patterned color.

They also have certain lines of white on their body specifically on their back although this is rarely seen prominently. Their feet are dark brown and the underparts of the body are pale as compared to the rest of the body. They also have a tinged belly. Did you know that Japanese waxwings are the only ones that lack the bright red wax-like tip in all three species of waxwings?  

Japanese Waxwing

How cute are they?

Japanese waxwings are extremely cute birds that sit on trees and although they lack bright red wax-like tips they are adorable and cute in their own way.  

How do they communicate?

They have relatively high-pitched calls, shorter and slightly higher as compared to the bohemian-waxwing. They also make use of whistles and body language to communicate. Their body language consists of courtship displays and other forms of communication. The mating pair rub their beaks together something like a display of affection.

How big is a Japanese waxwing?

The Japanese waxwing is 5.9-7 in (15-18 cm) in length which is relatively five times bigger than the bee hummingbird which is 1.96-2.4 in (5-6.1 cm) in length.

How fast can a Japanese waxwing fly?

Japanese waxwings have fast flights at high elevations using their wing in most instances but they also have other kinds of flights including slightly undulating ones over long-distance travel. They also build nests on top of trees to avoid any predators from attacking.  

How much does a Japanese waxwing weigh?

The Japanese waxwing weighs 0.11-0.14 lb (54-64 g). The bohemian waxwing too weighs more or less the same.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females are not addressed differently however, they appear slightly different with females being relatively duller than the male species. This phenomenon is common in other species of birds as well like peacocks where the males are more colorful and attractive compared to the females and this is primarily to attract possible mates.  

What would you call a baby Japanese waxwing?

A baby Japanese waxwing could be referred to as a nestling like other species of birds. Juveniles have a dark crest and are usually gray in color with light-colored underparts. They are completely dependent on their family, specifically their parents, in the initial few weeks of their life.

What do they eat?

Japanese waxwing birds' primary diet is herbivorous in nature and they feed on a similar diet for most of the year. They primarily consume berries, certain fruits, and leaves as well as part of their diet. They are also known to feed on certain smaller species of insects during summer giving them a good source of protein diet as well.  

Are they poisonous?

No, these bird species are not poisonous. They are, however, alert beings and flee as soon as they sense any possible danger.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal to adopt these species as pets in the United States. Given that the Japanese waxwing is a near-threatened species, restrictions exist in other places as well. It's best for such species to reside in their natural habitat with their family in flocks.

Did you know...

The golden pheasant is the most beautiful bird species in the world. Bohemian waxwings are included in the same list. Bohemian waxwings are the bohemian relatives of the Japanese waxwing.

Sometimes Cedar waxwings can become drunk by feeding on fermented berries. This can lead to death as well in some instances.

Why are they called waxwings?

Waxwings are named for the waxy red tips on their secondary wing feathers. Although this is missing in the Japanese waxwing species, they often look similar to other waxwing species. They have a brown stripe across the wing close to the top of the Japanese waxwing wing.  

What do you call a flock of waxwings?

A group of waxwings is called a museum or an ear-full. They are a group of migratory species and travel together at all times. These species are seldom seen alone. They also do other activities together like eating in shifts. This is a unique feature of these species of birds unlike other species of birds who focus only on eating their own food. These factors are common across all three small and similar breeds including the Bohemian waxwing and the Cedar waxwing seen in North America although it's fairly tricky to spot them.

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 palm warbler facts and arctic tern facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable japanese waxwing coloring pages.

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