They are related to waxwings, and like that group have a soft silky plumage, usually grey or pale yellow in colour. All species, with the exception of the Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher, have small crests.
These birds eat fruit or insects, and the Phainopepla is particularly dependent on Desert Mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum.
They are birds of various types of woodland (semi-desert with trees for the Phainopepla), and they nest in trees.
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