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Species Guide
A photo of a Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus), male
Bearded Reedling, Male

Bearded Reedling

Panurus biarmicus

The bearded reedling, Panurus biarmicus, is a small, long-tailed passerine bird, unique in its family Panuridae. It is often referred to as the bearded tit or bearded parrotbill, though it is neither a tit nor a parrotbill. This bird is known for its striking sexual dimorphism and life-long pair bonds.

Identification Tips

Adult males are distinguished by their grey heads and black "moustaches," while females are paler with brownish heads and lack the male's distinctive facial markings. Juveniles resemble females but have a black patch on the back and different bill and lore colors. The species is small, measuring 14.5–17 cm in length, with an undulating flight and a long tail.


Bearded reedlings are specialists of reed beds, preferring those with common reed by fresh or brackish water lakes, swamps, or rivers. They are also found in tall grass-like vegetation such as bulrushes and true sedges.


Native to temperate Europe and Asia, their range extends from Spain and the British Isles to the Manchurian region. The distribution is spotty due to habitat preference, with less detailed monitoring data in Asia.


Social birds, bearded reedlings form life-long pairs and are often seen in groups outside the breeding season. They are highly productive, capable of breeding several times within a season. Their presence is often betrayed by their characteristic metallic "ping" call.

Song & Calls

The male's song is a tuneful "tschin-schik-schra," while both sexes use a "ping" call to maintain contact. Their short wings produce a whirring sound during flight.


Pairs are monogamous, though infidelity is not uncommon. They nest in reed beds, with the female laying 3 to 11 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young, which are capable of breeding the following year.

Similar Species

There are no similar species within its range, as the bearded reedling is the only member of its family.

Diet and Feeding

In summer, their diet consists mainly of insects and small invertebrates, while in winter, they feed on seeds of reed and other grassy plants. They undergo significant changes in their digestive system to cope with the seasonal dietary shifts.

Conservation Status

The bearded reedling is not considered threatened, with a large population and widespread distribution. However, local populations can fluctuate greatly due to food availability, habitat conditions, and weather extremes.

Bearded Reedling Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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