Phainopepla nitens is a red-eyed, glossy-black bird that occurs in the southwestern United States and central Mexico. The Phainopepla is found in semi-arid scrub, and is rather more insectivorous than the waxwings. The Phainopepla also travels in small flocks during the nonbreeding season.
The waxwings are rather irregular in both their breeding and wintering abundances. Waxwings sometimes occur in unusually large numbers outside of their usual range in some winters, probably as a result of poor berry crops in their normal wintering habitat. During such irruptive events of abundance, waxwings often occur in large flocks in cities, avidly feeding on berry-laden, urban trees and shrubs such as junipers and mountain-ash. These winter occurrences of flocks of bohemian and cedar waxwings are unpredictable pleasures that are relished by bird watchers.