Family Waxwings (Bombycillidae)

Least Concern

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)


French: Jaseur d’Amérique German: Zedernseidenschwanz Spanish: Ampelis americano

Bombycilla cedrorum


, 1808,

North America, from Canada to Mexico = Pennsylvania


This species is sister to the B. garrulus/B. japonica clade#R. Birds from N of range named as race aquilonia#R, but description based on wintering individuals of uncertain origin, and slight colour differences seem unreliable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. c. cedrorum#R Vieillot, 1808 – extreme S Alaska and S Yukon E across C & S Canada to Newfoundland, S in E USA to N Georgia; non-breeding regularly S to Costa Rica, rarely to N South America.
  • B. c. larifuga#R Burleigh, 1963 – SW Canada and W USA S to N California; non-breeding S probably to at least W Mexico.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 15·5–18 cm; 30·8–35·6 g. Medium-sized passerine with distinctive crest of moderate length pointing rearwards from crown. Male... read more


    Calls high-pitched, and most fall into two categories. “Bzeee Call”, commonly given... read more


    Variety of habitats with trees and shrubs, but generally favours edges or open woods, and avoids... read more

    Food and feeding

    Relies heavily on fruit (84% of annual diet); insects (12% of annual diet) consumed primarily in spring, when fruit scarce. Also feeds on... read more


    Season later than that of most birds: laying usually begins early Jun, but some nests initiated early Aug; rarely, active nests late Sept... read more


    Complex and not fully understood. Withdrawal and return to N parts of breeding range on predictable... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant in much of breeding range. Numbers generally stable or increasing; Breeding Bird Survey shows 1·3% annual increase... read more

    Recommended citation

    Mountjoy, J. (2019). Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 November 2019).