Sunday 19 May
Bearded parrotbill (Panurus biarmicus)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Bearded parrotbill fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Bearded parrotbill description
The bearded parrotbill (Panurus biarmicus) 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 parrotbill 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 (2) (3) (5) (6) (7). 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 (2). The female bearded parrotbill 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 (3) (5) (6).
The juvenile male bearded parrotbill 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 (6). All young bearded parrotbills have a variable amount of black streaking on the back (5).
The call of the bearded parrotbill is a resounding ‘ping-ping’, which is used between individuals for contact and is particularly given in flight. Due to the bearded parrotbill’s small size and concealing habitat, this call is sometimes the only way to know that this species is present (3) (5) (6).
- Also known as
- bearded reedling, bearded tit. Top
BirdLife International - Bearded parrotbill
- Slightly salty water, usually a mixture of salt and freshwater, such as that found in estuaries.
- The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- The space between a bird’s bill and eyes.
- An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a group.
- An individual found outside the normal range of the species.
IUCN Red List (October, 2011)
- Brazil, M. (2009) Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia: Eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Eastern Russia. A&C Black, London.
- Burton, M. and Burton, R. (2002) The International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Third Edition. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, New York.
BirdLife International (October, 2011)
- Grewal, B., Harvey, B. and Pfister, O. (2002) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India and the Indian Subcontinent, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and The Maldives. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
- Beaman, M. and Madge, S. (1998) The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. A&C Black, London.
- Coomber, R. (1990) A Photographic Encyclopedia of Birds. Smithmark Publications, New York.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Bearded parrotbill biology
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).Top
Bearded parrotbill range
The bearded parrotbill has an extremely large range, which includes most of Europe and Asia (4) (5). It is also sometimes recorded in North Africa and parts of the Middle East as a vagrant (4). Although this species has an extensive range, its distribution is highly localised (3).Top
Bearded parrotbill habitatTop
Bearded parrotbill status
The bearded parrotbill is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Bearded parrotbill threats
The bearded parrotbill is known to be under pressure due to cutting of reed beds and drainage of marshes, leading to a reduction in available habitat. This species has also been exploited within the cage-bird trade in the past, with both the eggs and adults being sold (3).Top
Bearded parrotbill conservation
There are currently no specific conservation methods known to be in place for the bearded parrotbill.Top
Find out more
Find out more about the bearded parrotbill:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.