Alternative names: Bearded Parrotbill; Bearded Tit; Whiskered Tit; Bearded Tit-Babbler; Reedling
- Panurus biarmicus
Length: 16.5cm (6.5in).
Male has a blue grey head, yellow eye, yellow bill, black drooping moustache, creamy brown back, long tail.
Female lacks moustache and blue grey head.
Very random range in Europe, much more prevalent further east in Asia.
In the Western Palearctic breeds in Britain and irregularly distributed at coastal sites from western France to Denmark, more widespread in Germany, including some inland areas and east to Poland and the Baltic States. Further south breeds in parts of central Spain and the Mediterranean coasts of Spain and France and the north Adriatic coast of Italy. More common and widespread in the east in Hungary and Romania, parts of Greece and central Turkey, and in the far east in the Volga Delta.
In Britain breeds in southern and eastern England, two main localities in northern England and also at one site in Scotland.
Most populations are basically sedentary but undergo irruptive movements when birds disperse to other reedbeds. Some may return in spring to original site others form the basis of a new colony.
Winter range is similar to but usually rather more extensive than breeding range.
Vagrants recorded in Morocco, Algeria and Syria.
Not a true tit, therefore the international name Bearded Parrotbill. Formerly placed with the parrotbills which are itself sometimes placed within the babblers. New research however have shown that this species is a sister group to the larks and is better placed in its own family, Panuridae.
There are 3 subspecies:
- P.b. biarmicus:
- P.b. russicus: Very similar but slightly paler:
- Central Europe (Austria to northern Balkans) and Asia Minor east through central Asia to northern China
- P.b. kosswigi: darker and more rufous
- Formerly southern Turkey (Amik Gölü). Probably extinct
An additional subspecies occidentalis is generally considered invalid.
The main habitat is large reedbeds on fresh or brackish water, sometimes with scattered trees and bushes.
Lives in reedbeds, where its flight is low, slow and weak with whirring wingbeats.
Feeds on spiders, insects, caterpillars and also seeds from the reed beds for part of the year.
Builds a cup nest of dead leaves and other marsh plants, often producing 3 or 4 broods a year.
Voice is a loud pinging - very distinctive.
Click on photo for larger image
Male, subspecies biarmicus
Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, December 2017
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Bearded Reedling. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 5 June 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Bearded_Reedling
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