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Waxwings and Silky Flycatchers: Bombycillidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Birds from the Bombycillidae family are generally outgoing and energetic. Waxwings travel in flocks that can reach into the thousands searching for fruit sources. They are not territorial. Silky flycatchers are more territorial, and nest in casual colonies. Phainopeplas migrate laterally to find wetter habitats after their breeding season ends.

Waxwings are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), having just one mating partner for the breeding season. The breeding habits of the silky flycatchers and hypocolius are not well known. All of the Bombycillidae species make a small, cup-shaped nest, usually in the strong fork of a tree. Waxwings lay four to six eggs, and silky flycatchers lay two to four. The young birds have no feathers when they hatch, and both parents feed them.


Scientists have noted that waxwing tail bands have been both yellow and orange for the last thirty years. Prior to that time, their tail bands were always yellow. The scientists believe that waxwings have been eating a lot of berries from the introduced (not native) European honeysuckle, which was introduced about then. Scientists think that the birds are being affected by pigments in the orange fruit.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsWaxwings and Silky Flycatchers: Bombycillidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla Cedrorum): Species Accounts, Gray Hypocolius (hypocolius Ampelinus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SILKY F