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Any of three species (family Bombycillidae) of elegant-looking songbirds named for shiny red beads on the tips of the secondary wing feathers. All species are gray-brown and have a tapering crest. The common, or Bohemian, waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) is 8 in. (20 cm) long and has yellow, white, and red wing markings. It breeds in northern forests of Eurasia and America. The cedar waxwing (B. cedrorum), smaller and less colourful, breeds in Canada and the northern U.S. Flocks of waxwings may invade city parks and gardens in winter, searching for berries. The Japanese waxwing (B. japonica) is restricted to northeastern Asia.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on waxwing, visit Britannica.com.