Birds of Switzerland
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    Bohemian Waxwing

    Bombycilla garrulus

    Information

    In Europe, the Bohemian Waxwing is quite unique with its silky plumage, its black eye-mask and black bib and its conspicuous crest. When berries are abundant, most birds spend the winter in their northern breeding areas or a little further south. If the berry supply fails in winter and in case of very large populations, the Bohemian Waxwing often undertakes long-distance migrations which stretch as far as the Mediterranean. Their sometimes unpredictable occurrence in large numbers used to be regarded as an omen of wars or epidemics. Therefore, from the great plague outbreak around 1350 onward, the German name “Pestvogel” (plague bird) was used and since the Thirty Years' War it was also called “Kriegsvogel” (war bird).

    Voice

    Status (in CH)
    regular, rare migrant and winter visitor
    Annual cycle
    The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
    Annual cycle
    Annual cycle

    Facts

    Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
    -
    Migration behaviour
    short-distance migrant
    Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
    Mainly nocturnal migrant
    Length (cm)
    18-21
    wing span (cm)
    32-35
    Weight (g)
    40-68
    Nest site
    trees
    Food
    insects, fruits
    Group
    Waxwings
    Habitat
    settlements, orchards, hedges, vineyards
    Distribution
    Distribution
    Distribution