Waxwing ID Tips: Bohemian Waxwings vs Cedar Waxwings

Know what to look for the next time an elegant waxwing feasts on your berry tree. Learn the difference between cedar waxwings and bohemian waxwings.

cedar waxwingCourtesy Deborah Bryk

How to ID Cedar Waxwings

Cedar waxwings have a thin black mask with a white outline, and a brown, occasionally ragged short crest. The birds are medium sized, with a body length about 6 inches, and a pale yellow belly. Pointed wing feathers feature waxy red tips, and the squared tail tip features a bright yellow band. Learn how to attract waxwings with berries.

bohemian waxwingCourtesy Justin Dutcher

How to ID Bohemian Waxwings

Bohemian waxwings, found in the north and northwest, are sometimes confused for their strikingly similar cedar waxwing cousins. A good way to tell the two species apart is to check the wing markings and tail base color. Bohemian waxwings have rusty red underneath the base of their tails and bold white wing markings in areas where the cedar waxwings are plain gray. This stunning species is one of the top 9 most beautiful birds in America.

Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She enjoys growing vegetables in containers and raised beds and watching for birds in her backyard.