Bombycilla garrulus - Jaseur boréal
- Size: 23 cm
- Wingspan: 34 à 35 cm.
- Weight: 40 à 64 g
The Bohemian Waxwing has a size, shape and flight similar to the European Starling, with which it can easily be confused from a distance, especially as it is gregarious like it, but close observation will soon separate them. The plumage is light and the beak is short. The most obvious thing is the long erect crest, often raised on the head. The face is heavily contrasted. A black band from the forehead engulfs the dark eye and continues to the nape. The throat is also black. The front of the cap and cheeks is reddish. A white patch can be seen at the corner of the bill and a white stripe outlines the eye. The bi-coloured beak is rather short and thick. The mantle and wing coverts are brownish-beige, turning to light grey on the back, rump and upper tail coverts. The underside is beige, slightly tinged with salmon at the neck and chest. The underbelly is white, strongly contrasting with the chestnut undertail coverts.
The wings and tail are striking. Black primary feathers end in white and yellow, grey secondaries in white and bright red. A white band crosses the wing at the level of the big coverts. The short tail, grey at the base and then black, is ended in yellow, as if the bird had dipped its rectrices in a paint pot.
Sexual dimorphism is subtle. The female has less yellow at the end of the tail, less white on the primary feathers, less red on the secondaries; the throat black is less well-defined, etc.
The juvenile has a duller, more grey plumage, without the subtle pink or red shades which characterise the adult's. It is also less uniform, striped in brown on the lower parts. The throat is white. The facial mask is narrower, the crest shorter, the yellow of the wing paler and the tail less wide than the adult's.Only when they reproduce does this become visible, before post-juvenile molt. After the first molt, the young bird looks quite similar to an adult but its plumage lacks luster. It can berecognized mainly by its primary wing feathers where the outer yellow vane is less developed and paler, and there is no white inner vane. It's quite subtle.
Subspecific information 2 subspecies
- Bombycilla garrulus garrulus (n Europe and n Asia)
- Bombycilla garrulus pallidiceps (w Canada and n and w USA)
Voice song and cries
In the summertime, the Bohemian Waxwing is a typical migratory bird of the taiga, a subarctic coniferous forest bordering the south of the tundra.
Behaviour character trait
The Bohemian Waxwing is a gregarious species. This character allows loose colony reproduction. In the interseason, it moves in large groups, sometimes with as many as several thousands of individuals.
It is a not so shy bird, a feature also shared with other northern species which can be linked to the wild nature of the forests it inhabits. It is easily approachable, making it possible for some beautiful observations, particularly in urban parks which it frequents in winter.
It is a great lover of small fruits, thus is highly dependent on natural conditions for its survival. In years with bad fructification of the trees which feed it, it is obliged to set off in large numbers towards the south in search of food. These sporadic, unpredictable appearances outside of its normal range are probably the reason for popular beliefs which make it a harbinger of plague, as that one also appears unexpectedly. Thus, in Germany, it is called Pestvogel.
The Bohemian Waxwing has a fast and direct flight pattern reminiscent of a starling, with shorter, weaker beats. It is a gregarious bird, moving in well-ordered groups once the breeding season has ended.
The diet of the Bohemian Waxwing is mainly insectivorous and frugivorous. During the breeding season, it is quite varied, mainly insectivorous (insects and their larvae, spiders, small mollusks, etc.
The monogamous species nests in isolated couples or small loose colonies. The only nesting occurs late in the spring.
The Bohemian Waxwing is a Holarctic boreal species. Its nesting range extends throughout Eurasia, from Scandinavia to eastern Siberia and Kamchatka, and across northern America, from the Bering strait to the Hudson Bay. The Bohemian Waxwing is a partial migrant. Its wintering range is further south, mostly overlapping with the breeding range. The species is an occasional winter visitor to France during irregular invasions.
Threats - protection
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild
The species is common and not threatened at the moment.
Sources of information
- IOC World Bird List (v13.2), Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2023.
- HBW Alive,
- xeno-canto, Sharing bird sounds from around the world,
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
published: 13-01-2019 - Updated: 14-01-2019
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