any of three species of perching songbirds of the Northern Hemisphere. Waxwings have crests (raised only in alarm) and sleek brownish-gray plumage with flecks of red pigment resembling sealing wax on the wings and a yellow band on the tail tip.
The cedar waxwing, called cherry bird and cedar bird, breeds throughout most of Canada and the United States. The Bohemian, or greater, waxwing is more northern in distribution, ranging into the United States only rarely in winter. It is found in N Europe and Asia as well as in N North America. The third species, the Japanese waxwing, is found only in NE Asia. Waxwings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Bombycillidae, genus Bombycilla.
Length: 5.75 inches
Short, thin bill
Pale brown crest
Black eye patch and chin
Pale brown head fading into pale yellow belly
White undertail coverts
Dark brown back
Dark wings with thin, red bar
Black tail with yellow tip
Juveniles have much duller, grayer head and body with blurry streaks on underparts Frequently found in large flocks feeding on fruit
The Bohemian Waxwing is similar to the Cedar Waxwing but has dark undertail coverts, gray belly and white and yellow markings in the wing.
Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.