Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Latin Etymology: Bombycilla ("silk tail") garrulus ("chattering")

Adult Bohemian Waxwing (subspecies B. g. garrulus) in Kettering, Northants - December 2010

Featured Subspecies: Bombycilla garrulus garrulus
Weight: 55g  /  Length: 19-23cm  /  Wingspan: 32-35.5cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The waxwing has the potential to be a problematic species to spot, dependent on year. In most years only around a hundred appear in the UK in the Winter. On the flip side, generally in the region of every four years, they arrive in massive numbers, as there is insufficient food in their native Scandinavia - these are called "irruptions". It's in these years that they are probably easiest to see, as they can appear anywhere and everywhere, and are indeed often reported in supermarket car-parks with lots of ornamental berries. Photographically they have a great benefit in that they aren't that bothered by humans - I was literally a few meters away from the bush in which this photo was taken.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Bombycillidae
Genus: Bombycilla
Subspecies: B. g. garrulus, B. g. centralasiae, B. g. pallidiceps

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A variable Winter migrant, usually rare (about 100 birds), but in irruption years up to 11,000.
 - One flock I found stayed in the centre of Kettering for a month in 2010. A pair also seen fleetingly in Geddington that year..

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alex, that's absolutely brilliant that you have managed to see and photograph Black Redstart and Waxwing as well as you did. Some very nice descriptions and decent birds!