The bearded parrotbill 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 (3) (5) (6).
The bearded parrotbill is a weak flier, typically staying low while flying over reeds, with its long tail fanning and twisting from side to side (6). In autumn, small groups can often be seen flying over the reeds, where they forage and roost (2) (3) (4).
During courtship displays, the male bearded parrotbill fluffs out its moustache and erects a small crest on its head. The bearded parrotbill does not hold a territory, instead searching for food over large areas of reed bed (3).
The bearded parrotbill’s nest is made of grass, bamboo or torn-off strips of reed. This is woven tightly into a cup around bamboo or stout grass stems and bound with cobwebs, before being lined with reed flowers and a few feathers. Both the male and female help in building the nest, but the male makes the lining. Each clutch contains four to eight eggs, and the bearded parrotbill may have two to four broods a year. The incubation period is 11 to 12 days, with the young fledging after 12 to 13 days. The lifespan of the bearded parrotbill is up to six years (3).