From Fruit Fanatics to Wax Tips: Cool Facts about Cedar Waxwings

Birdorable Cedar Waxwing in tree with berries

Cedar Waxwings boast a range of unique features and behaviors that set them apart in the bird world. From their distinctive appearance to their unusual dietary habits, here are some cool facts about the Cedar Waxwing, offering a glimpse into their lives and habits:

  • Waxy Red Tips: Cedar Waxwings are named for the distinctive waxy red tips on their secondary feathers, which increase in number and size as they age.
  • Fruit Lovers: These birds have a strong preference for fruit and can survive on a fruit-only diet for several months.
  • Cowbird Chicks Struggle: Brown-headed Cowbirds that hatch in Cedar Waxwing nests often don't survive due to the high-fruit diet of the Waxwings.
  • Intoxicated Behavior: Waxwings can become drunk from eating overripe, fermenting berries, sometimes leading to flocks colliding with windows.
  • Unique Vocalization: Cedar Waxwings don't sing traditional songs but communicate with quiet trilling or buzzing sounds.
  • Tail Band Coloration: While typically yellow, some Cedar Waxwings developed orange tail bands in the 1960s in the northeastern U.S., a change attributed to non-native honeysuckle berries in their diet.
  • Polite Eating Habits: These birds eat in shifts, with one group feeding first before giving way to the next, displaying more courteous behavior than most birds.
  • Group Names: A group of waxwings is called an "ear-full" or a "museum" of waxwings.
  • Birdorable Feature: The Cedar Waxwing has been a part of the Birdorable collection since September 2006. Check out our cute waxwing t-shirts and gifts!


Libby on November 1, 2011 at 11:42 AM wrote:
Hey I just wanted to let you guys know that on of your words is spelled wrong. The word is "simultaneously" but you guys have it up there as "simultanously". So yeah thats all I wanted to say. HAve a great day and your website is awesome! -Libby
Birdorable on November 1, 2011 at 2:02 PM wrote:
Thank you for pointing out the error, Libby! I've corrected it. :)
Tough Titmouse on May 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM wrote:
well, now, I like birds, but it's good to know that cowbirds can't survive as well in cedar waxwing families... so cedar waxwings can stay alive :D
Savannah Banana on April 7, 2015 at 10:07 AM wrote:
I am doing a project on Cedar Waxwings and this was very helpful!
Debra on March 10, 2016 at 6:31 PM wrote:
The cedar waxwing is one of my favorite birds, thank you for the insightful facts.
Heather Richards on November 28, 2016 at 4:14 PM wrote:
Hi. My name is Penguin McPenguin McPenguin McPig. And I love these birds *hair flip*
Louise Warner on February 20, 2017 at 6:09 PM wrote:
we have two waxwing species: ceder waxwings and the Bohemian waxwings ( in Canada. )
joe mo on March 23, 2017 at 1:36 PM wrote:
This was a very helpfull sight!
milo on June 19, 2017 at 3:08 PM wrote:
I am doing a project on Cedar Waxwings and this was very helpful!
wanda on May 19, 2018 at 2:18 AM wrote:
why is a group of waxwings called a library?
Kauluwai on December 29, 2020 at 9:50 AM wrote:
Because they have read tips? 🤫
Mikki Bates on February 5, 2021 at 4:34 AM wrote:
Thank you for all of this information. I've always enjoyed the absolute beauty of cedar waxwings. Today we saw a whole museum in an ugly privet bush by the deck. Those berries seem to feed birds in the winter, so that is the ONLY reason that I put up with it. Today it was overflowing with robins, then waxwings. Hooray!
Greg on February 14, 2021 at 12:57 AM wrote:
What does it mean if a cedar waxwing is alone —- not in a large flock?
Dana wolff on February 20, 2021 at 9:12 PM wrote:
I have missed seeing these ceautifuls ! I live in western washington and used to always see them around the berry bushes especially red ones. But now I never do. They are my favorite bird. Am I the only one ? Glad to hear you all are having great sitings
Madge on February 26, 2021 at 2:50 AM wrote:
Today was my first experience with an earfull of cedar waxwings. They came storming in to feed on the berries of a dwarf youpon holly, stripped it in two minutes. Amazing numbers of them competing for the berries, stayed clustered while feeding. Quite a sight.
Bonnie on March 29, 2021 at 11:04 PM wrote:
Saw a museum of Cedar waxwings last year in the fall. There were about 50 of them in the top of our poplar tree. They were passing through. Today we spotted a pair perched in a small tree. We are in South Georgia. Wish we were more than a pass through! Beautiful bird❤️
andy on April 1, 2021 at 2:22 PM wrote:
what is the tree with the small black berries that cedar waxwings eat in the Dallas area
Judy on April 6, 2021 at 1:43 AM wrote:
I have a HUGE wax privet tree in my back yard. The tree was here in 1985 when we bought our house. It was small then, but probably 100 Ft. tall now. We have been told, it's a weed here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The wax wings are here now. They will strip the tree and move on as they do every year. They are beautiful, and (very messy).
Spurwing Plover on May 23, 2022 at 5:21 AM wrote:
I read that they use a method of passing a berry to the Bird at the end in a sort of Bucket Bergade the Bird near the source of fruit will pick the berry then they pass it down the line to Bird at the end
Vina on June 1, 2022 at 3:51 PM wrote:
My Apple trees are overrun with waxwings..they are eating the do I discourage them so there will be apples for the deer that eat my apples??I tried hanging strips of shiney tin foil..I think they like sure is not scaring them..

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