The Bohemian Waxwing got it’s name for the red waxy tips on mature feathers, and for it’s bohemian behavior. These beautiful birds are very nomadic when following food sources and they’re large flocking instinct leads to a communal type of protection and sharing of food. Therefore; with they’re vibrant colors and sleek appearance, bohemian waxwings are a favorite on any birder’s life list.

Bohemian Waxwing are sleek, masked birds with rare red, waxy deposits at the tips of they’re secondary feathers. They’re grayish-brown with white and yellow wing-patches and yellow terminal tail-bands. They’ve unique crested heads, black throats, and black masks lightly lined with white.

There heads have a Rufous tinges, and they’re under-tail coverts are Rufous. Adolescents have most of the aforementioned field marks, but are mottled gray-brown and lack the feather-tips. Bohemian Waxwings feather-tips seem to rise in number and size as the bird’s age.

The only bird in Washington United States that could be confused with a Bohemian Waxwing is a Cedar Waxwing, a far more common relative. Cedars birds are smaller and browner then Bohemians and have yellow tinges underneath. But they have lack the Rufous under-tail coverts and white and yellow wing markings of Bohemian Waxwings.

Bohemian Waxwings habits includes to breeds in open areas and edges of boreal forests, habitually in places with sparse tree cover above brushy understory. In winter season, they can be found in a diversity of habitats, as long as they’re is fruit available. They habitually congregate in towns with abundant plantings of fruit-bearing trees.


Bohemian Waxwings are monogamous, and both members of the pair help build the nest, which is habitually on a horizontal branch of a spruce tree. There nest is a loose, open cup made of grass, twigs, and moss, lined with feathers and fine grass.

The female incubates four to six eggs for about fourteen to fifteen days. Normally both parents feed the young bird, which leave the nest at fourteen to eighteen days. The young normally stay adjacent to the nest and are fed by the parents for another few days. Moreover family groups may stay together through the fall. The Fruits which are rich in sugar have deficient in other nutrients, so it must be eaten in huge quantities.

Bohemian Waxwing have a big liver which supports him to convert sugar to energy. They can metabolize ethanol formed from the fermentation of those sugary fruits more proficiently then humans, but May still become intoxicated, occasionally fatally. Waxwings habitually drink water or eat snow in winter, since the sugar in they’re fruit diet tends to dehydrate the birds through an osmotic affect. In the summer, the fruits are juicier and water is less of a problem.

Bohemian Waxwing behavior may be mixed in with other common Cedar Waxwing flocks during the winter. They habitually perch atop trees to forage for fruits and berries. However in summer conditions, they fly out to catch aerial insects, but they’re primarily likes fruit-eaters, a trait that dictates much of they’re behavior. Bohemian Waxwings eat almost nothing but fruit in the winter, relying on the berries of mountain ash, juniper, holly, and others.

They also forage on fruit crops and ornamental plantings. Bohemian Waxwings are susceptible to alcohol intoxication, and even death, from eating fermented fruit. Like most songbirds, they feed insects to they’re young at first, but switch to feeding the young berries within a few days.

The bird’s migration is nomadic and irruptive species roams in search of food sources, rather then undertaking a typical migration. However; food availability seems to be a more imperative predictor of winter presence then temperature or latitude. Populations fluctuate considerably from year to year, but Christmas Bird Count Data reveals a slightly declining long-term trend.

Maximum Bohemian Waxwings in Washington are northern breeders that come down into Washington in winter. In many years they’re fairly common in winter in northeastern Washington Ferry, Douglas, Okanogan, Stevens, and Pend Oreille Counties, particularly in cities and towns where they feed on fruit trees.

In few years they’d extend further west into the Columbia Basin, and can rarely be seen west of the Cascades. Bohemian Waxwings are erratic breeders in Washington in the North Cascades at Hart’s Pass and Holman Pass.

Also Read: The Red-billed Streamertail 

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Originally posted 2016-02-21 09:00:03.


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