The cedar waxwing has a number of distinctive elements that make it a popular subject for carvers.
The cedar waxwing gets its name from the wax-like “spangles” on the secondaries. Its mask and crest provide a couple more distinguishing characteristics.
A crested bird with a black mask, measuring between six and eight inches in length, the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) has subtle blended browns and a yellow tail band at the tips of the tail feathers. The red wax-like appendages of the secondaries from which the bird gets part of its name are sometimes missing. The waxwing eats a lot of fruit, so the other half of its name comes from its propensity to consume the berries from cedar trees.
- Vandyke brown
- Payne’s gray
- Ivory black
- Burnt umber
- Titanium white
- Cadmium yellow light
- Cadmium yellow medium
- Yellow ochre
- Cadmium red medium
- Matte varnish
- White gesso
- ChromaColour series 1a, #2 and #4
Eyes: 5 (brown)
Wing cord: 93 (from the wrist to the tips of the longest primary feather)
Head width in front of the eyes: 14
- Exposed culmen: 9
- Gape: 14
- Width: 10
- Bottom: 6
Tail length (visible): 36
- Width: 1.5
- Height: 2
- Hallux—8 plus nail (5)
- Middle—14 (plus 5)
- Inner—11 (plus 4)
- Outer—10 (plus 4)
Head, breast, nape, back, and scapulars
Apply 1 part Vandyke brown and 2 parts burnt umber with a touch of yellow ochre and a touch of titanium white or gesso. It is okay if some of this color goes over the lesser and greater coverts.
The malar has a wedge shaped marking of titanium white.
Use ivory black with equal parts matte varnish and water.
Under the lower mandible apply a mixture of 2 parts Payne’s gray, 1 part ivory black, with a touch of Vandyke brown. Wet blend this color into the upper portion of the throat.
The head has a black mask (lores and wedge-shaped patch at the back of the eye) of equal parts ivory black and Vandyke brown. Apply a thin outline of titanium white around the mask.
Belly, sides, flanks and lower-tail coverts
Dampen this area with water to avoid any hard water lines and apply 1 part yellow light thinned with 15 parts gesso to make a pale yellow. Blend this into the titanium white lower-tail coverts
Primaries, secondaries, tertials greater, primary, and lesser coverts, alulas, and tail feathers
Apply 2 parts Payne’s gray, 1 part ivory black with a touch of Vandyke brown, and a touch of gesso or titanium white. Keep in mind that the inner portion of the tertials are lighter and blend into the base color. The top 5 to 7 secondary feathers have an appendage of cadmium red medium.
The tail feathers have a band at each tip of cadmium yellow medium that stands out against the dark color of the tail feathers. The primary feathers are edged in a paler gray.
Rump, upper-tail coverts and leading edges of primary feathers
Make a paler gray with 1 part titanium white with a touch of ivory black and a touch of Vandyke brown.
Equal parts ivory black and Vandyke brown.