Bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus)

On a visit to WWT Welney, Welney Wetland Centre at the beginning of the year Mrs Sciencebase and I, we were introduced to a couple of new bird species by more experienced birders there: the Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) and the Bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus). I don’t think either of us had seen these species before. Picture directly below is of a female (left) and a male (right) reed bunting.

We were in a hide at the centre watching the reed buntings flitting about and I was trying to get a decent snap of both male and female, when a new entrant in the hide pointing out a kestrel just behind us said, “Oh, you want to get a shot of that one!” It was the bearded tit…also known as the bearded reedling, it was hard to home in on him, but after several attempts he stopped for a minute on his vertical asymmetric bars and let me snap him. Beard tit, bearded reedling, bearded parrotbill

According to Wikipedia, the bearded reedling is a small, sexually dimorphic reed-bed passerine (perching) bird. It is does have some resemblance to the long-tailed tit but its “bearded” is more like a pair of front-facing sideburns (mutton chops) rather than a beard as it doesn’t join under the birds beak. Oh, and it’s also sometimes called a bearded parrotbill.