Scientific NameBombycilla garrulus
BreedingJune onwards, not in UK
Fledge Days16 days
Incubation Days14 days
Lifespan5 years
Number of Clutches1
Number of Eggs3-7
Size18-21 cm
Wingspan34 cm

Bird Family : Waxwings

Waxwing Facts - Information About Waxwing

Waxwing - Bombycilla Garrulus

The Waxwing is an uncommon British winter visitor, however in some years numbers are high, this generally depends on the weather and food supply in north Eastern Europe, from where they come. The colder the weather, the more chance there will be of birds moving to milder locations and easier feeding opportunities. It frequently occurs in town and city centre habitats as it feeds on ornamental berry trees such as Rowan, which are often planted by local councils in shopping areas throughout the country.



  • Males and females are very similar, females black bib has a less defined lower edge, more diffuse, otherwise as male.

  • The Waxwing is similar in size to our Common Starling, up to about 21cm but tends to be bulkier, as if a little over weight!

  • Waxwings are unmistakeable, the combination of call, plumage, colours and crest make it one of the easiest birds to identify.

  • Tail is short, dark and tipped with yellow.

  • Upper tail coverts, rump and lower back are soft dove grey.

  • Back and rest of upperparts are a velvety peach buff colour, beautiful.

  • Wings are peachy with dark primaries edged with prominent yellow tips and white edges, to larger white patches occur, 1 on the edge of the secondaries and 1 on the coverts.

  • The bird gets its name from the red wax like tips it has on its secondaries.

  • The waxwing is bull necked and thick set, the head is peachy orange with large crest, black bib, small black loral stripe and eye mask.

  • Breast, belly and flanks are rusty buff, vent and undertail coverts are orange.

  • Bill is very large, triangular and black.

  • Legs, bill and eye black.

First Winter

Similar to adults but less obvious yellow wing markings and no red tips to secondaries.

Status and Distribution

The Waxwing does not breed in the UK and is a winter visitor in varying numbers, birds generally start to arrive from November onwards and stay for several months before departing to breeding grounds in North Eastern Europe.

Habitat / Food

Waxwings are not shy and will often feed in close proximity to humans, good views can often be gained due to this. They are attracted to berry bush’s / trees and favour Rowan, Cotoneaster, Holly and Hawthorne. They will often feed on Fruit such as apples.

Song / Call

Call note is a soft extended trill, uttered several times and often promoting responses from other birds within the flock.