Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Species
Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus). Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on February 2nd 2011.
Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on February 2nd 2011.
(1/400th sec at f13. Click image for a larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

L: 18 - 21cm

The Waxwing is a plump bird, slightly smaller than a Starling. It has a prominent crest. It is reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail. The red-tipped secondaries look like they have been dipped in wax, hence the name.

Waxwings do not breed in the British Isles, but they are winter visitors, in some years in large numbers. These are called irruptions, and occur when the population gets too big for the available food supply.

Breeding habitat is coniferous woodland with deep undergrowth. Birds spend the winter in gardens, parks, hawthorn thickets and hedges. Those which come to Britain usually feed on Rowan berries, but will also take Hawthorn, Cotoneaster and rosehips.

Sightings

10-Dec-2012 : St Giles' Churchyard, Oxford (5)
07-Dec-2012 : St Giles' Churchyard, Oxford (16)
29-Nov-2012 : St Giles' Churchyard, Oxford (12)
26-Nov-2012 : St Giles' Churchyard, Oxford (4)

12-Feb-2011 : Wootton Rd, Abingdon, Oxon (c20)

24-Dec-2010 : Abingdon (NE), Oxon (c40)
05-Dec-2010 : Botley, Oxford, Oxon (3)
12-Mar-2005 : Botley, Oxford, Oxon (9)
09-Mar-2005 : Dunmore Road, Abingdon, Oxon (6)