Bearded Tit - Panurus biarmicus

    Alt Name
    Bearded Reedling
    Bearded Parrotbill

    The Bearded Tit is a distinctive bird, with a very long tail, a rotund body, short wings and a small, yellow, parrot-like bill, from which the family earns its name. The male Bearded Tit has a blue-grey head, a white throat and two prominent black stripes on each side of its bill, which look like a drooping moustache. The shoulder feathers and the area between the eye and bill are also black. The underparts of the male are off-white, suffused with pink, and its wings are black, brown and white with white tips. The female Bearded Tit is dull in comparison to the male, with an entirely buff-brown head and body, apart from occasional black streaking on its crown and back of the neck. The juvenile male Bearded Tit has a conspicuous black patch on its wings, shoulder feathers and back, as well as predominantly black outer tail feathers. The rest of its body is buff, resembling the adult female, and it has a yellow-orange bill and black lores. In the juvenile female, the bill is grey-brown or blackish and the lores are dull grey All young Bearded Tits have a variable amount of black streaking on the back.

    Identification difficulty

    Reed beds. The Bearded Tit is a weak flier, typically staying low while flying over reeds, with its long tail fanning and twisting from side to side. In autumn, small groups can often be seen flying over the reeds, where they forage and roost.

    When to see it

    All year round near the coast, usually a winter visitor further inland.

    Life History

    Feeds primarily on insects, grass seeds and occasionally berries. During the summer breeding season it feeds on a mainly invertebrate diet of insects, caterpillars and mayflies, together with a few snails. In the winter, it feeds mainly on seeds high up on the reed stems.

    UK Status

    Occasional and local in Britain, most often found near the coast.

    VC55 Status

    Very occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map