Year of the Bohemian


This week’s photo, taken January 20, 2017 at Richmond Beach Park in Shoreline, WA, features a BOHEMIAN WAXWING, a rare visitor to western Washington.

The BOHEMIAN WAXWING, the slightly larger cousin of the more common Cedar Waxwing, hasn’t been seen in the greater Seattle area since 2010, but this winter many local birders have flocked to Magnuson Park and Discovery Park to view and celebrate this gorgeous species. I saw my first Bohemian Waxwing of my life at Magnuson on January 10 of this year, then 10 days later at Richmond Beach Park, I found 4 Bohemian Waxwings feeding with a large group of American Robins and European Starlings.

Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings are adorned with the same black facial mask, head crest and yellow tip on the tail, but that’s about where the similarities end. While the Cedar Waxwing has a yellowish tinge to its body, the Bohemian’s body is gray. The Bohemian also has a bit of white on the wing feathers, plus a splash of yellow. Perhaps the most noticeable difference: the Bohemian has a reddish-brown face, as well as a reddish-brown underside to the tail.

So, the next time you spot a flock of Cedar Waxwings, take a good look at each individual bird, especially this winter, and you may discover that you’re looking at a different kind of waxwing.

Bird cards and prints:


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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3 Responses to Year of the Bohemian

  1. says:

    Perhaps they are found more frequently in coffee houses.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Chris says:

    When Jim and I went up to Calgary last February, we had Bohemian Waxwings, pointed out by the Birding Pal guide we had. Really wretched look, just a little movement in the top of some leafy tree, not even a silhouette, not to mention we were struggling to keep our balance on the icy path. I could not count them in good conscience. Unless I make it a top priority, it is likely I will never see one. Did I tell you we are going to Asa Wright Center in Trinidad in April? Probably get some tropical lifers there.

  3. kathydoremus says:

    Lovely. I was hanging out with some Cedar Waxwings yesterday – these birds are simply stunning.

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