If we reject the name Ampelis for the Waxwing and accept, as we must do, the name Bombycilla, the name of the family must-take its derivation from that of the only genus it contains.
This curious genus is remarkable for its full, long crest and for the wax-like prolongation of the shafts of the secondaries, from which feature the Waxwings take their name. The wing is long and pointed and has ten primaries, of which the first is minute; the tail of twelve feathers is short and square; the bill is short and stout, slightly curved and with a simple notch ; the tarsi are very short.
A very careful examination of the material in the British Museum confirms Dr. Hartert's doubts as to there being any grounds for the separation of this species into subspecies, though it is possible, if not probable, that there is a breeding bird (Poliakow's centralasiae) in the Altai Mts. For the present I retain all these birds under the binomial.