The waxwings belong to the genus of Bombycillla which contains passerine birds. This is the common name used for the three species which comes under this genus. The species are known as Japanese waxwings, bohemian waxwings and the Cedar waxwings.
The waxwings have a soft and silky plumage as well as red tips which are unique in some of the feathers of their wings. The tips in the wings of Bohemian waxwings as well as Cedar waxwings have an appearance of sealing wax, and hence the group has its name as waxwings.
The legs of these birds are strong and short. The wings of these waxwings are pointed in nature. The male birds as well as the female birds possess same plumage. The three species of waxwings have brown plumage mainly. The eyes of these birds have one black line passing through them. The under side of the chin of these waxwings are black in colour. The end of the tail is square in shape and the tip of the tail is either yellow or red in colour. The crest of the birds is pointed. The eyes, feet as well as the bill of the birds are dark. The call of these birds is in a very high pitch and is a trilling or buzzing monosyllable.
The waxwings are birds which live and breed on the trees in the northern forests. The major foods of these birds are fruits that are eaten by these birds right from the early summer till the late summer as well as autumn and winter. These fruits include strawberries, serviceberries as well as mulberries in early summer, raspberries, cherries, blackberries as well as honeysuckle berries during later summer as well as early fall, grapes, crabapples, rose hips etc during late fall and winters. The fruits are plucked while perching or occasional hovering. During spring season, the foods of these birds consist mainly of buds, saps as well as flowers instead of fruits. During the warmer days, insects also are used as food.
These birds choose their nests in such places where the supply of fruits is really ample. The breeding occurs during later part of the year as ripening occurs during summer. But the courting of these birds start during winter itself. The pairing in these birds has a ritual. In this the mates pass one fruit or some inedible object many times till one of them eats it. After this, copulation starts. The materials required for constructing the nest are gathered by both the birds, but usually the nest is built by the female birds. The nest is made on horizontal limb or may be in one crotch which is present at a distance form the trunk of the tree. The nest is bulky and is made with grass, twigs and lichens which are then lined by means of moss, fine grass as well as pine needles. The camouflaging is done by means of using flowers, grass, lichens as well as moss.
The incubation is done by the female birds once she lays the eggs. The female waxwings are fed by the male ones during this period. Once eggs hatch, the young waxwings are fed by both the parents.