Bohemian Waxwing

photo by Phil Swanson

Bombycilla garrulus
L 8 1/4″ (21 cm).

Song or calls:
Rasping “sr-r-r-r-r-ee.”  Low in pitch, and with discernible individual notes.

Description: Sexes similar. Light gray back, wings, and rump; cinnamon-gray underparts, head, and crest; white and yellow wing markings; bright red spot on wings; rusty-red undertail coverts; black chin and eyeline; and yellow terminal tail band. Larger and grayer than Cedar Waxwing. Immatures browner above, and with indistinctly streaked underparts.

bohemian waxwingHabitat: Migrants found among fruit-bearing trees in woodlands, shelterbelts, and urban parks and gardens. Often occur in flocks with Cedar Waxwings.

Where in Nebraska: Occasional to rare winter visitor, irregular in geographic and yearly occurence.

Field Notes: Irruptive in winter. Erratic southward movements in winter thought to be caused by food shortages in the north.

Fun Facts: Bohemian Waxwings have no true song and do not defend territories, perhaps because the fruits they eat are so abundant and available for such a short period of time.