Category Archives: 16) Dippers, Waxwings to Accentors

Mysterious Dark Waxwing

Never heard of one of these…

Photographed by Clive McKay who already has ‘history’ with Waxwings. He was the finder of Britain’s first Cedar Waxwing on Noss, Shetland.

It is clearly unusually dark – presumably melanistic (or perhaps it got stuck down a chimney!).

From Alan Tilmouth:

“Hi Martin,

Whilst it is most probably a case of melanism, I found the following link that suggests some colour change occurs in Cedar Waxwings depending upon diet during feather growth which provides a possible alternative explanation.


This one would be a good ‘marker’ bird to look out for. Hope it gets seen again. I have a recollection that colour-ringed Waxwing from the Aberdeen area get relocated further south though the winter.

Maybe Sheffield at the Waxwing hotspot near my house!

‘Dark’ Bohemian Waxwing. 4 November 2010. Lintrathen, Angus, Scotland. Clive McKay

“A very dark Waxwing in a flock of 85 that I was photographing for flight shots. I was looking through the camera most of the time so didnt notice this bird until I downloaded the pics. N.B. The brick red undertail coverts confirm it as Bohemian Waxwing.”

Clive McKay