Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Don Paul
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus, is a bird that is unpredictably encountered in Utah. This species breeds in Alaska and western Canada, and moves south into the western United States during the winter. Flocks may winter in Utah, but their presence may be affected by weather patterns and food availability. As is typical for a waxwing, this species feeds heavily on fruit during all times of the year, though insects compose the bulk of the diet during warm months. During Utah winters, flocks usually remain in any area only briefly, feeding on fruits remaining on, for example, hawthorn, pyrocantha, and juniper trees. In some years, Bohemian waxwings may be abundant throughout the state, only to be absent the following year.

After migrating north to breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska in spring, breeding activities begin in May or June. Both sexes build the nest from twigs, moss, and grass, and line the nest cup with hair and down. The female incubates five eggs for two weeks; the male feeds the female during this time. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest after 15 to 17 days.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.