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Waxwings in Ireland


With their striking plumage and large crest, Waxwings are one of the most distinctive and attractive Irish birds. They visit Ireland in the Winter coming from Northern Europe. These beautiful birds are about the size of a Starling and in flight they are quite similar with their short, triangular shaped wings. Waxwing plumage is largely pink-beige with a distinctive crest. They have a black mask and black bib. Their tails are tipped with yellow and there are yellow and white markings on the wings; specifically, yellow along the length of the primary feathers and white at the base of the coverts. The secondary wing feathers have red waxy fingers. The rump is grey and the vent is red. Their legs and bill are black. Juvenile waxwings have smaller crests, do not have a black bib and don't have the waxy red fingers.

Irish Name for Waxwing

The Irish word for waxwing is Síodeiteach.

Waxwing Feeding

Waxwings are natives of northern Europe where they breed in the summer and feed on insects. In the winter thousands of them visit Ireland and the UK to feed on berries. They are acrobatic birds while feeding behaving somewhat like Tits.

Frequently they will eat rowan and hawthorn berries in town and city gardens. You may also be able to attract Waxwings into your garden by hanging apple pieces from branches.

They can be seen near or around supermarkets and retail parks because many car parks are now bordered with rowan or hawthorn bushes and there are plenty of people to notice these approachable birds.

Waxwings Nesting

Waxwing eggs

Waxwings do not breed in Ireland or the UK. Nests are built in fir trees or scrub. The nest is cup-shaped and is built by both the male and female using twigs, grass and moss.

Waxwing eggs are a pale blue colour and are smooth with black and grey speckles . The eggs are approximately 24 mm long by 17 mm. The female waxwing incubates the eggs however the chicks are fed by both the hen and cock.


Scientific Name: Bombycilla garrulus

Passeriformes Family:

Irish Status:
Winter Visitor

Length: 18cm Wingspan: 34cm Weight: M/F: 63g

Call: A high-pitched bell-like “sirrr”

Habitat: Coniferous forest, birch woodland

Diet: Summer, insects especially midges & mosquitos, winter, fruit and plant buds from trees

Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):

5 years est.

Conservation Status in Ireland: GREEN


Waxwing Range in Ireland

As a winter visitor the Waxwing is generally confined to Northern and eastern edges of Ireland.

Map of the range of Waxwings in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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