Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus


The Waxwing is a plump bird, slightly smaller than a Starling and with 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.

Identification difficulty

The first British arrivals each winter are usually seen on the east coast from Scotland to East Anglia, but birds move inland in search of food, increasing the chances of seeing one inland.

When to see it

October to April.

Life History

Their main food is fruit and berries. In the UK they are attracted to car parks with Rowens and other ornamental berry producing trees.

UK Status

It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor with numbers varying greatly from year to year.

VC55 Status

On average less than 10 birds per year are seen in Leicestershire and Rutland but in some years they arrive in much larger numbers, called irruptions, when the population on its breeding grounds gets too big for the food available.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map