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Bearded Tit

An occasional sight in reedbeds in Dorset

Photograph by: 
Peter Coe

Although it seems most bird books still call this attractive little bird the bearded tit there is a move to rename it the bearded reedling. It is not remotely related to the great tit or blue tit and so bearded tit seems to be misleading hence the desire for change but it does not have a beard, it is more of a mustache, so bearded reedling does not seem the right choice if it is going to be renamed. At least reedling seems appropriate as it is rarely seen anywhere other than in phragmites reed beds and so mustached reedling may be more accurate perhaps? I still favour bearded tit myself.

Apart from two three weeks periods, firstly between week 19 and 21 in late May and then from week 31 to week 33 in August when there are, strangely, no reports, the bearded tit can be seen all year round here in Dorset. The reason for the gaps, and I am purely speculating, is possibly because during the first break they are feeding young and will be less visible not feeding on seed heads and then the second gap could be down them being in moult and wanting to keep away from potential predation during this vulnerable time. If anyone has any further knowledge about this I would be delighted to hear about it. Outside of the two gaps reports are fairly consistent with no real seasonal variations apparent.

Being associated with reed beds it is no surprise that two sites with extensive reed bed provide the bulk of the records with Radiole in Weymouth and Lytchett Bay in Poole Harbour leading the way. Other sites from around Poole Harbour and also from along the Fleet have also reported them on occasions too.

Undoubtedly, a trip to the RSPB reserve at Radipole represents your best chance of adding bearded tit your Dorset list but they can be pretty elusive and you might have to visit several times before you are lucky.


 

 

Common Name Bearded Tit
Alternative Name(s) Bearded Reedling
Scientific Name Panurus biarmicus
Species Group Other Small Land Birds
Status Local
Interest Level
4
Visabile
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Look for

A small group of birds feeding around the seed heads of phragmites and reedmace

Identification Notes
  • Rarely seen away from their favoured reed bed habitat
  • The distinctive black facial markings of the male make it easy to identify 
  • Resident in Dorset and seem most of the year round but can be elusive 
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Other Small Land Birds