Cedar Waxwing

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image: cedarwaxwing.jpg

Common Name: Cedar Waxwing

Scientific Name: Bombycilla cedrorum

Size: 6-7 inches (14-17cm)

Habitat: North America; Winters are spent in the southern regions of North American and summers in the north. Found in open woodlands wherever fruit can be found.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 15,000,000 mature individuals. Populations are increasing throughout its range.

Diet: Fruit and insects.

Breeding: Four to five eggs in an open cup nest placed in the fork of a tree branch.

Cool Facts: Cedar waxwings lead nomadic lives following the ripening of fruit. The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red areas found in variable numbers on the tips of the secondary feathers of some birds. It is believed that these red areas may be a signaling function in mate selection.

While most Cedar Waxwings have yellow tail tips, ones with orange found in the Northeast began appearing in the 1960’s. The coloration is cause by berries from an introduced species of honeysuckle to the area. If a waxwing eats the honeysuckle berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.

Unlike most birds that regurgitate fruit seeds that they eat, the Cedar waxwing defecates the seeds. Waxwings can live entirely on fruit for several months but are vulnerable to alcohol intoxication and death from eating fermented fruit.

Only three species of waxwings exist. The Bohemian and Japanese waxwings have white edges to the wing feathers, but the Cedar Waxwing does not. An unusual Cedar Waxwing was found with the ornate wing pattern, suggesting that the ancestor of all three species had a patterned wing.


Found in Songbird Remix Characters

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