Bohemian Waxwing - Pestvogel

Bohemian Waxwing


Bombycilla garrulus

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk


December 2000, Texel NH
January 2003, Noordwijk ZH


December 2000, Texel NH

Bohemian Waxwings migrate (south-)westwards in some winters and may then be seen in The Netherlands as well. During the last week of December 2000 these birds were apparently on the move again, as after a relatively quiet autumn period, 1000s were seen in Southern Sweden and Finland. Very soon the first ones were spotted across the North Sea. Kees de Vries and I stumbled upon two after having successfully looked for  Great Northern Loon and a  King Eider near the little village of 't Horntje, on the famous island Texel. As usual, the birds were quite tame, allowing close approach (and thus video recording!), as can be seen on the stills shown here. The pale (instead of bright) yellow band across the wing and the lack of white sickle-shaped tips to the primaries can be seen well here, showing that the birds were first-years. The relatively broad yellow tail band suggests the pictured bird is a male.

  Bohemian Waxwing  -  Pestvogel  Bombycilla garrulus   first-winter;  videograbs (20x), contrast slightly enhanced.
  't Horntje, Texel NH, The Netherlands, 30 December 2000.


January 2003, Noordwijk ZH

Also in 2003, when the North of Europe was suffering from bitter winter cold, Bohemian Waxwings arrived in our country. The suggestion of their appearance being related to cold weather is on the other hand by no means proven: it is far more likely that it has to do with food (berries) supply.
Contrary to a totally unfounded remark in Birding World (9, 1996, p. 45), birds can be aged as adults by the white 'hooks' on the primaries, formed by the white borders of the tips of these feathers. First-winter birds lack these 'hooks' and therefore only show the pale yellow line on the closed wing.

  Bohemian Waxwing  -  Pestvogel  Bombycilla garrulus   adult;  videograbs (20x & 10x).
  Branding, Noordwijk ZH, The Netherlands, 12 January 2003.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2000 - 2003