San Francisco Department of the Environment

Cedar Waxwing Bird

So stylish!

Maybe you’ve noticed flocks of these social birds converging on the bay each year, around local orchards, woodlands, forests, even taking over your own backyard! Cedar Waxwings are a touch smaller than robins, but easy to spot with their chic style – a smooth, silky outfit of tan and gray, accessorized with a snazzy black mask, brilliant red drips on their wings, and yellow tail tips. They gather in large numbers to eat ripe berries from shrubs and trees each fall. In fact, these chatty fashionistas are capable of living on fruit alone for months at a time! You can find them just as easily around rivers in pursuit of flying insects, or eating worms, ants, beetles, and weevils.

RESIDENT OR MIGRATORY Resident and Migratory

KEY HABITAT FEATURES One of the only birds in North America that specializes in eating fruits.

DIET Berries and sugary fruit year-round, especially in winter with insects becoming an important part of the diet in the breeding season.

ASSOCIATED PLANTS & ANIMALS Toyon – Heteromeles arbutifolia, Twinberry Honeysuckle – Lonicera involucrata, Islais Cherry – Prunus ilicifolia, Red Elderberry – Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa.

NESTING INFORMATION Summer to fall, nest is cup-shaped and made of bark, twigs, moss, and grass nests in mixed woodlands, nearby streams in deciduous trees including Maple – Acer macrophyllum and London Planetree – Platanus × acerifolia.

ADDITIONAL HABITAT PLANTS Small Crabapples, wild grape, juniper berries, arctostaphylos species, honeysuckle, dogwood, Toyon, ceanothus, Islais Cherry, serviceberry


CEDAR WAXWING – Bombycilla cedrorum

Learn about local plants and animals in San Francisco neighborhoods - Cedar Waxwing Route 4 – Page, Stanyan to Market