Waxwing

Waxwing

Waxwings are plump, crested birds that come to the UK in the winter from Scandinavia at any time between October and March.

They are slightly smaller than starlings and are reddish-brown with a black throat and small black patch around their eyes. Their wings are yellow and white and they have yellow-tipped tails and are named after the waxy-looking red tips on their flight feathers.

They will usually arrive en masse in search of berries from rowan, and hawthorn trees or cotoneaster or rose in a type of migration called an irruption. They arrive on the east coast but will move further inland as food becomes scarcer.

Waxwings can typically eat up to 1,000 berries a day which is twice their body weight and can strip a tree bare of its fruit in hours.

They are particularly attracted by berries on ornamental trees and appear to have a penchant for supermarket car parks with many large sightings reported in these strangest of places.