Bird Families

Amur Waxwing / Bombycilla japonica


And not only taiga. These birds are known both in the middle zone and in the south of our country - depending on the season, they can be found from the tundra to the forest-steppe. This bird is of interest among the people, and how can you not pay attention to such an unusual and bright appearance. In one book I came across the popular name of the waxwing - "handsome".

Common waxwing the size of a starling - the body length is on average 20 cm, the wingspan is 30-40 cm.A noticeable crest, gray-pink color of the body, bright red and yellow markings on the wings and tail - this bird cannot be confused with another (except, perhaps, the closest relative - the Amur waxwing Bombycilla japonica , but its range is very limited). There is practically no sexual dimorphism (differences between the male and the female); in the female, bright color elements are only less contrasting.

Vote Waxwing is probably known to many - numerous nomadic flocks that cling to mountain ash trees are not uncommon even in large cities. They can be heard from afar - the trill usually uttered by this bird is designated as "sirrrrr". Hence its name - these "whistling" sounds. The male uses the same trill during the mating season, as such they do not have a song.

Nest waxwings in the middle and northern taiga of the northern hemisphere - Eurasia and North America. They inhabit coniferous and mixed forests with well-developed undergrowth. In May-June, after returning from wintering places, pairs of waxwings begin to build a nest, which is usually located on coniferous trees, carefully covering it. Nesting material - grass, moss, lichen, twigs, the tray is lined with plant fluff, feathers or grass. It is all the more interesting for a resident of central Russia or the south to imagine this bird in a green forest, and even just a couple, not a large flock. A similar slight "dissonance" arises when you imagine another guest from the north, the buzzard buzzard, while nesting.

In a clutch of waxworm there are 3 to 7 eggs, usually 4-5. The female incubates the eggs, and the male feeds her. After two weeks of incubation, chicks hatch, which are fed by both parents. The main food for feeding is insects; waxwings add berries and seeds to the diet of grown chicks. During the nesting season, the parents themselves also feed mainly on insects, sometimes on seeds, buds, buds and other plant foods.

When the chicks leave the nest, it is time to gradually migrate. Waxworms gather in large flocks - hundreds, and sometimes thousands of birds. In autumn, winter and spring, until the beginning of breeding, these flocks feed mainly on rowan berries. The range of migrations depends on the amount of food - waxwings appear in cities where there is more food: here they "raid" cultivated trees (hawthorn, apple trees, etc.). Flocks are unstable, they disintegrate and mix, waxwings in the non-nesting period are true nomads, not tied to certain territories in any way, the only factor that determines their movement is food. Moreover, these birds are truly gluttonous - they eat a lot, swallowing large berries and pieces of fruit.

Their voracity and the large number of flocks have a positive effect on the spread of seeds of fruit and berry trees - the seeds are not always digested.

In our middle zone, waxwings can be found until mid-spring, and sometimes even at the end of May, when the last birds leave their wintering grounds. In the summer we will no longer be able to see them, in contrast to the bullfinches, which are also more noticeable in winter. So I suggest everyone pay attention to the noisy flocks and admire these beautiful birds while they are still visiting us.

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Birds of Crimea

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  • Birds starting with the letter C
Latin name:Bombycilla
English name:Waxwing
A type:Chordates
Body length:20 cm
Wing length:11-12 cm
Wingspan:32-35 cm
Weight:60 g
  • 1 Description of the bird
  • 2 What eats
  • 3 Where it dwells
  • 4 Flight
  • 5 Types
    • 5.1 Common waxwing
    • 5.2 Japanese Amur waxwing
    • 5.3 Cedar (American) waxwing
  • 6 Male and female: the main differences
  • 7 Home maintenance
    • 7.1 What to feed
  • 8 Captive breeding
  • 9 Interesting facts
  • 10 Waxwing Singing

Description of the bird

The inhabitants of Eurasia and North America - the songbirds of the waxwing genus - are distinguished by the beauty of their plumage and an amusing disposition. Their soft, silky and dense plumage is painted mainly in gray and brown tones with black, white, red and yellow ornaments on the feathers of the wings, tail and head. The head is also adorned with a black eye mask and a prominent tuft of feathers.

The size of these birds is small. The average body length is 20 cm, weight is about 60 g. Life expectancy in nature is 13 years.

What eats

The food of the waxwing varies with the seasons, but in general the bird is omnivorous and loves to eat very much.

In the summer, it feeds on various insects, larvae, butterflies, mosquitoes, dragonflies. And in winter it switches to berry fodder and pecks up viburnum, mountain ash, juniper, lingonberry, barberry, rose hips and mistletoe. Sometimes the waxwing is also called "mistletoe", for its love of these juicy white berries.

The birds eat very, very quickly, swallow the berries whole and do not even chew.

Where dwells

The nature of the food and life of the waxwing attracts it to life in coniferous and mixed forests in the northern regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Usually these birds are very friendly and can fly to parks and gardens. Waxwings become secretive only during the nesting period.

Air travel

This question has long caused controversy among scientists, but today the waxwing is recognized as a nomadic bird. Most of these birds are inhabitants of the northern regions, so in the winter they unite in small flocks and move in search of food. The waxwing does not fly far and quickly enough returns to its native land.

The family of real waxwings combines 3 types: common, Japanese and American waxwings. Similar species - black waxwing and black silk waxwings - already belong to the family of silky waxwings.

Common waxwing

The length of the bird's body is up to 25 cm, weight is about 60 - 70 g. Both females and males are painted in a smoky pink-gray color, the throat, tail and stripe on the eyes are black. The black wings are decorated with white and yellow stripes, and red feathers are noticeable at their tips. There is also a yellow stripe along the edge of the tail. The birds have a crest on their heads. Inhabits the taiga forests of the Northern Hemisphere.

Amur (Japanese) waxwing

In size, this species is smaller than an ordinary waxwing. Its body length is about 16 cm. But its color is very similar and slightly differs only in pronounced red stripes on the wings. The species is common in the north and east of Asia. For the winter, he often goes to Japan and China.

Cedar (American) waxwing

Habitat - the north of the United States and Canada. In the winter, the species wanders to the south of Central America. The cedar waxwing is painted in ocher tones with a bright yellow belly and yellow feathers at the end of the tail. On the head, birds have a crest characteristic of the species and a black mask over their eyes.

Male and female: the main differences

Sexual dimorphism in birds of the true waxwing family is practically not expressed. But in their closest relatives - silky waxwings - the male and female are significantly different. The plumage of males is intense black, shiny, while the females are painted in modest gray-brown tones.

Home content

Birds are kept in captivity, but they rarely become tame. In order for the waxwing to feel comfortable, several individuals settle in a large aviary, since the birds are very mobile and need space. In addition, in the company they are more willing to bring out their melodic trills.

What to feed

For waxwings, it is important to have a nutritious diet with foods containing carotenes to maintain their beautiful color. The diet includes carrots, cottage cheese, raisins, pieces of meat and insects. Greens, vegetables and fruits are added in summer.

Waxwing loves to eat, which means they emit a lot of droppings. The floor of their enclosure is sprinkled with sawdust and often cleaned.

Captive breeding

Waxwing is bred at home. If the birds have created a pair, their diet is enriched with animal food - insects, ant eggs, and they try not to disturb or disturb the birds.

In one clutch, the female incubates from 3 to 7 bluish or purple eggs for about 2 weeks. All this time, the male takes care of her nutrition. Newborn chicks need at least 3 weeks to mature and fly out of the nest.

Interesting Facts

  • The waxwing has very tenacious claws, which helps the bird stay on the branches and peck at the berries that are most difficult to get. But this same feature prevents the waxwing from moving on the ground, which he does very rarely and reluctantly.
  • During courtship, the male offers the female a berry or other treat. If the female accepts it, then the birds create a pair.
  • Waxwing are real gluttons, as soon as they see a bush or tree with beautiful berries, they will not stop until they have all been pecked. Therefore, some of the fruits are excreted from their body undigested, which contributes to the spread of plants.
  • When the waxwing eats a lot of berries in winter, fermentation begins in its stomach, as a result of which the bird becomes disoriented as if "drunk". In this state, waxwings often die, bumping into objects and going astray. Even a century ago, when people did not know about this feature, it was considered a bad sign if a waxwing beat through the window.

Waxwing singing

It was the waxwing that served as a "model" for creating an old children's toy of a whistling bird. Even the name of the bird is associated with its characteristic singing, which consists of a babbling trill "swi-ri-ri-ri-ri", similar to the melody of a flute. And in the old Russian way, "to whistle" means to whistle and shout loudly.

Usage Information

Photo "Japanese Waxwing (Bombycilla japonica) in Japan" can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 4896x3264.

  • The country: Japan
  • Location: Outside
  • Image orientation: Horizontal
  • Season: Spring
  • Times of Day: Day
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