Cedar Waxwing

Last Updated on April 4, 2023 by Susan Levitt

The Cedar Waxwing is an elegant and graceful bird, often seen in backyards and parks across the United States. With its bright crest, beautiful brown plumage, and distinctive yellow tail tips, it’s easy to spot this unique species. But there’s much more to these birds than meets the eye – from their social behavior to their specialized diet. Find out why the Cedar Waxwing is one of nature’s most fascinating birds!

The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized songbird with a body length of 7-9 inches and a wingspan of 13-15 inches. They have a distinct crest of pointed feathers on top of their heads that often lies flat when the bird is at rest. Their plumage is mostly brown with grayish edges on the wing feathers, giving them a scalloped appearance. Males and females look alike, but males are slightly larger than females. The most distinctive feature of the Cedar Waxwing is its bright yellow tail tips – you can’t miss it!

These birds are highly social creatures who often travel in flocks during migration season. They feast on fruits, insects, and nectar while they fly around looking for food sources. Their diet consists mainly of berries, cedar fruits, honeysuckle fruits, and other succulent treats like aphids or caterpillars. Cedar Waxwings have even been observed eating snow in winter months when food becomes scarce! With such an interesting lifestyle, it’s no wonder that these birds are so captivating to watch.


The cedar waxwing is a beautiful bird with a striking black mask, brown speckled wings, and yellow tipped tail feathers. They grow to be about 6 inches long and have an impressive wingspan of up to 12 inches. Interestingly, they are the only North American bird species that feeds primarily on fruit, with the exception of insects during breeding season.

Their diet consists mainly of small fruits like juniper berries, crabapples, and hollyberries. They also eat some flower petals and will occasionally take suet from backyard feeders. Cedar waxwings can be seen in flocks of up to 50 birds while they search for food or roost together during cold weather. Moving on, their habitat and range are quite varied…

Habitat And Range

The Cedar Waxwing’s habitat and range further adds to their fascinating characteristics. They can be found in open woodlands, suburban areas, and parks. These birds are commonly seen in North America during the summer months, but may also travel south for the winter season. Here is a list of some of their favorite places to hang out:

  • Woodlands
  • Suburban areas
  • Parks
  • Open fields

These birds are very sociable and often flock together in large numbers when searching for food or roosting. They are also known to migrate great distances when food is scarce or when preparing for the winter season. With such an impressive range, it’s no wonder why these birds have become so popular with bird watchers! Transitioning into the next section, Cedar Waxwings have specific dietary needs that must be met in order to remain healthy.

Diet And Feeding Habits

The Cedar Waxwing is a unique and delightful creature, much like a bouquet of feathers in flight. Their diet consists mostly of fruits and berries, but they also enjoy the occasional insect for added nutrition. During the summer months, these birds feast on mulberry, serviceberry, dogwood, cedar and juniper berries. Insects such as aphids and caterpillars also make up part of their diet. In addition to these food sources, Cedar Waxwings are known to eat nectar from flowers like honeysuckle.

During migration season, these birds flock together in search of food sources that may have been hard to find during the winter months. They will often join other bird species in large groups called “mixed-species foraging flocks” to take advantage of what is available. This behavior helps them survive long periods between meals or when food sources become scarce due to weather patterns or climate change.

With this diverse selection of dietary options at their disposal, Cedar Waxwings are able to live full and healthy lives with plenty of energy for their next task – breeding behavior.

Breeding Behavior

Cedar waxwings breed from late April to early July in most of their range. Females lay 3–5 eggs and are responsible for most of the incubation and raising of the young. Males provide food for the female during this period. The young fledge about 16 days after hatching.

Laying EggsYesNo
Raising YoungYesNo

The familial bonds formed between cedar waxwings during breeding can be quite strong. They are known to stay together in flocks with their parents and siblings throughout the season, which is often much longer than other songbirds. With such a strong bond between male and female, there is no need for courtship displays or songs to attract mates, making them one of the few species that do not show any sort of mating ritual. This mutual bond makes cedar waxwings an interesting species to study when looking at family dynamics in birds. As these unique birds prepare for migration patterns, they will undoubtedly continue to fascinate birdwatchers around the world.

Migration Patterns

The Cedar Waxwing is a migratory bird that is known to travel long distances. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the species breeds in northern North America and then migrates southwards for the winter season. On average, the birds travel around 3,000 miles from their breeding grounds to their wintering sites. Fascinatingly, some individuals have been tracked as traveling up to 5,000 miles in one season!

In terms of timing for migration, Cedar Waxwings typically migrate during the late summer and early autumn months. The birds form large flocks before heading southwards and usually arrive at their destination by mid-October. After spending a few months in warmer climates, they start their return journey northward by late winter or early spring. This pattern of seasonal movement allows Cedar Waxwings to take advantage of food resources throughout the year and ensures they find suitable conditions for breeding during the summer months. Moving on…

Conservation Status

The Cedar Waxwing is classified as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This means it is not threatened with extinction, and its population appears to be stable. However, Waxwings are prone to crash events, which are times when large numbers of birds die due to weather conditions or food shortages.

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Human activity has had some effects on the species’ habitat. Changes in land use, such as deforestation and urbanization have had an impact on the habitats in which they live and feed. Additionally, pesticides used in agricultural areas can cause mortality among Cedar Waxwings. Due to these threats, conservation efforts have been implemented to protect this species from further decline.

The interactions between Cedar Waxwings and humans are complex and often beneficial for both parties.

Interactions With Humans

In spite of the conservation status of Cedar Waxwings, they have a strong relationship with humans. They have become accustomed to living near humans and often visit yards and gardens in search of food. As such, they are commonly seen at bird feeders and can even be hand-fed. This behavior has made them popular among birding enthusiasts.

In addition to providing them with food, humans have also been known to provide nesting material for Cedar Waxwings. Many people enjoy watching these birds build nests in their yards and gardens, as it is a fascinating sight to behold. Some people even hang nesting pouches from trees and bushes in their yard specifically for the Cedar Waxwing, which helps them find suitable places to nest.

The close interaction between Cedar Waxwings and humans has made the species a favorite among many birders, who appreciate their beauty and tameness. It is clear that despite their conservation status, Cedar Waxwings are still able to thrive in human-dominated landscapes due to our willingness to provide food and shelter for them. Interesting facts about Cedar Waxwings can now be explored further.

Interesting Facts

Isn’t it ironic that the cedar waxwing, with its beautiful colors and fascinating features, is a bird we know very little about? Well, let’s take a look at some of the things we do know.

  • The cedar waxwing gets its name from its wax-like red tips on its wings and tail feathers.
  • It also has a crest on its head which gives it an attractive appearance.
  • Its colors include brown, yellow and white.

The cedar waxwing has an interesting diet which consists mainly of fruits and insects. They have even been known to eat flower petals! Furthermore, they are sociable birds who live in flocks of up to 100 individuals. They migrate south during the winter months – sometimes as far as Mexico – then return north for summer breeding.

In addition to these facts, another thing we can learn from this species is how to share our resources with others. Cedar waxwings cooperate when searching for food and often feed larger birds before themselves! This shows us the importance of cooperation in nature and how it can benefit everyone involved. With this knowledge in mind, it’s time now to move onto the threats to survival faced by the cedar waxwing.

Threats To Survival

The Cedar Waxwing is threatened by many dangers in the wild, including habitat loss due to human expansion, climate change, and predation. Habitat fragmentation is a major problem for this species as it disrupts their migratory patterns and makes them more vulnerable to predators. Climate change affects Cedar Waxwings by causing changes in food availability, which can lead to reduced breeding success and survival rates. Additionally, their populations are at risk of being hunted or trapped by humans for food or sport.

Moreover, invasive species can outcompete the Cedar Waxwing for resources such as food and nesting sites which puts them at greater risk of extinction. Other threats include collisions with man-made structures such as wind turbines and cars; pesticide use; and disease epidemics that can spread rapidly through the population. These threats all contribute to the decline of this beautiful bird’s numbers in recent years. To protect the future of the species, preservation efforts must be undertaken to ensure its continued existence in our world today.

Preservation Efforts

The cedar waxwing is a species that has been around since the 1800s and is still prevalent today. To preserve its population, there are many measures being taken. These include habitat protection, captive breeding, and wildlife management.

Habitat protection is the most important factor in preserving the cedar waxwing population. This includes protecting their nesting grounds and ensuring enough food sources for them to thrive.Preservation EffortDescription
Habitat ProtectionProtecting nesting grounds & food sources
Captive BreedingBreeding waxwings in captivity to increase their population size
Wildlife ManagementMonitoring & regulating populations through hunting laws & practices

Captive breeding is another way of helping to maintain the cedar waxwing population. It involves breeding them in captivity so that more can be released into the wild and increase their overall numbers. Finally, wildlife management is also essential for preserving this species. This includes monitoring their populations and regulating hunting laws and practices to ensure they remain healthy and abundant.

All of these efforts are crucial for keeping the cedar waxwing alive and well. With proper conservation, we can ensure that these birds will be able to continue to thrive for future generations to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Cedar Waxwing?

What is the average lifespan of a cedar waxwing? This is a question that has been asked by many, as these small birds are fascinating to observe. They have an interesting behavior and their colorful feathers make them stand out in any environment.

The average lifespan of a cedar waxwing is between five and ten years. This is relatively short compared to other birds, who can live up to 20 years or more. However, this does not mean that cedar waxwings do not live long enough to experience life and form meaningful relationships with others. In fact, they typically form close social bonds with other members of their species and can even mate for life with one partner. Moreover, cedar waxwings are known for their intelligence and problem-solving skills, which can help them survive in harsh conditions.

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Cedar waxwings are a unique species that bring joy to those who observe them in nature. Their vibrant colors and playful behavior make them a favorite among birdwatchers, while their intelligence helps them adapt to different environments. Despite their shorter lifespan than other birds, they make the most of it by creating strong relationships with each other and living life to the fullest.

What Other Birds Are Similar In Size To The Cedar Waxwing?

The question of which other birds are similar in size to the cedar waxwing is an important one. After all, understanding the size and shape of a bird can tell us a lot about its lifestyle and habits. To answer this question, let’s take a look at some of the other birds that share a similar size and shape as the cedar waxwing:

  • Smaller Birds:

    • American goldfinch
    • Brown-headed cowbird
    • House finch
    • Indigo bunting
  • Medium Birds:

    • Mourning dove
    • Northern flicker
    • Gray catbird
    • Ruby-crowned kinglet
  • Larger Birds:

    • Chipping sparrow
    • White-breasted nuthatch
  • Downy woodpecker

These birds are similar in size to the cedar waxwing, but they have different lifestyles, behaviors, and habitats. For example, while the American Goldfinch may be small in size like the cedar waxwing, it prefers open grassland areas instead of forests like its counterpart. Similarly, while both the cedar waxwing and Northern Flicker are relatively medium in size, the Northern Flicker prefers to live on trees rather than shrubs or small plants. Understanding these distinctions can help us better understand why these birds are so similar in size yet so different in behavior.

What Type Of Foods Do Cedar Waxwings Eat In The Winter Months?

During the winter months, cedar waxwings are known to enjoy a variety of different foods. It’s estimated that up to 85% of a cedar waxwing’s diet is comprised of fruits and berries. This makes them an extremely important species in the pollination process.

In addition to their love for fruit, cedar waxwings also feed on insects, such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, during the winter months. They also enjoy suet, which is often made from birdseed, beef fat and peanut butter. These birds have been observed eating buds and flowers during the coldest parts of the year when other food sources are scarce.

Cedar waxwings are highly adaptable birds that can survive in many different conditions. By understanding their dietary preferences during the winter months, we can ensure that these beautiful creatures remain healthy and plentiful for years to come.

Are There Any Predators Of The Cedar Waxwing?

When it comes to predators of the cedar waxwing, there are a few different animals that are known to prey on them. These include hawks, owls, crows and cats. They have also been known to be taken by larger birds, such as eagles, as well as snakes.

The cedar waxwing has a number of defenses against these predators. It is adept at flying away quickly when alarmed and will often hide in dense foliage or fly into trees for safety. Additionally, its bright colors can help it blend in with its surroundings to avoid detection from potential predators. It also has a sharp bill and claws that it uses for defense if needed.

However, despite these defensive measures, the cedar waxwing is still vulnerable to predation from some animals and must remain vigilant in order to survive. If they are not careful they can easily become a meal for one of their many predators.

How Have Cedar Waxwings Adapted To Urban Environments?

Have you ever wondered how animals have adapted to urban environments? The cedar waxwing is no different, and its adaptations to the city environment may surprise you. How have these birds been able to survive in such a rapidly changing environment?

One of the most notable adaptations of the cedar waxwing is their diet. They are omnivores and can take advantage of both plant-based and animal-based food sources. This means they can find food more easily than other species that rely on one type of food source. Additionally, they are able to feed on fruits found in urban areas such as berries, apples, and cherries which are abundant in cities. They also consume insects like caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles.

The cedar waxwing has also made physical changes so that it can better live in an urban environment. They have larger eyes relative to their body size than other birds which allows them to better spot predators more quickly while living among humans. Additionally, they often nest near buildings or structures for protection from predators and harsh weather conditions which is beneficial for raising young chicks safely.

In addition to these physical changes, cedar waxwings have learned behaviors that help them adapt to the cityscape. For example, they sometimes flock with other types of birds such as robins or starlings because there is safety in numbers when living among humans. In some cases, they will even use human-made structures like bridges or buildings for nesting sites rather than trees which offers additional protection from predators or unfavorable weather conditions.

It’s clear that the cedar waxwing has adapted well over time to its urban environment – making dietary and physical changes as well as developing new behaviors – all so it can thrive in a changing landscape!


The Cedar Waxwing is an incredible bird that has many adaptations to survive in different environments. With their remarkable beauty and captivating song, they bring joy to anyone who gets the chance to observe them.

Their average lifespan of 5-6 years may seem short, but every second spent with these majestic creatures is a treasure. They are a small species, similar in size to other birds like the American Goldfinch and Blue Jay. During the winter, Cedar Waxwings flock together for warmth and feast on fruits like holly berries and juniper berries.

Though there are some predators of the Cedar Waxwing, such as hawks, falcons and owls, they have adapted quite well to urban areas. From city parks to suburban lawns, these birds can find plenty of food sources, making it almost too easy for them! It’s almost as if they were born with wings made out of gold – their presence makes any area feel instantly more magical.

All in all, it’s clear that the Cedar Waxwing is truly special – a true symbol of grace and resilience that will continue to bring joy for generations to come. So next time you spot one of these magnificent creatures soaring through the sky, take a moment to appreciate its beauty – it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget!

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