Cedar Waxwing

Cedar WaxwingBombycilla cedrorum Cedar waxwings aren’t flashy, nor do they have elaborate songs; however their specks of colour and pastel browns and grey give them a rather elegant look. Found from coast to coast in a variety of habitats, they are often seen sallying (flying from a perch) insects near open spaces or devouring berries of all sorts in trees and shrubs.


Very few birds look like it, a medium sized songbird, they are one of a few local species with a crested head. They have a distinct black mask on their face; their overall colouration is light brown head gradually turning to grey on the wings and body. The end of its tail usually has a yellow band, however it can be orange in some birds and is likely due to their diet when they were growing the feathers. They get their name from the red waxy tips to some of their wing feathers, which are another useful criteria for identifying this species.


These birds love fruit and it makes up a good part of their diet; high bush cranberries, blueberries, elderberries, crabapples, mountain ash berries, etc. During the breeding season insects they also prey on insects and can often be seen flying from a perch to catch an insect and then returning to where they were.

Where to find them

During the breeding season cedar waxwings are often found in edge type habitats, young forests and near water sources. During the winter the key to finding them is to find a good food source, find the berries, find the waxwings! Although they aren’t they loudest cedar waxwings have a distinct high-pitched “seet” call which will often draw your attention to their location.


This is a late nesting species; this is to ensure that the time when the young hatch is around the peak time of fruit abundance! They build a cup type nest that is usually lodged in the fork of a branch and is woven of twigs, grasses, hair and other material it can find. A normal nest will have between 2-6 eggs, which are grayish in colour with sparse dark spots.

How to Attract

Not surprisingly the best way to attract cedar waxwings is to plant fruiting trees and shrubs such as high bush cranberries, elderberries and crabapples to provide their favourite food item.

Cedar WaxwingCedar Waxwing