Feeding ecology and diet

Bombycillids feed predominantly on small fruits, which are the mainstay of the diet for the north temperate species for seven months of the year. They also eat insects, plucking them off of vegetation and tree bark or swooping down from high perches and taking them in flight. The cedar waxwing can store ingested fruits in a portion of the esophagus, presumably to maximize the amount of food ingested while foraging. Unlike fruit-eating thrushes, they have the enzymes to digest sucrose. In recent years, waxwings have come to rely increasingly on crops and ornamental fruits planted in suburban areas. While it will eat a variety of fruits, the phain-opepla specializes on mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) berries and is closely associated with these plants that grow on the trunks and branches of mesquite.

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