The bearded reedling is a bird of the size of great tit. With a long tail and a distinctive, black moustache in males. The name of the species derives in several languages from this original feature. Except for the moustache and grey-blue cap on the head, male and female birds are very similar: cinnamon- brown with white-black pattern on the wings.
The bearded reedling is a bird closely related to extensive reed beds by a shore of lake or an old river away from human activity. The bird’s plumage and a habitat at the level of low rushes make it difficult to be spotted. It is much easier to hear it. It needs after all to communicate somehow, especially in a place where it is difficult to maintain constant eye contact as by nature it is a very sociable species. Throughout the year it forms groups of a few up to several birds which do not disintegrate even for the breeding season.
Birds mate and build their nests in small colonies. The difference is that in this period ... they cease to constantly call each other.
Their nest is hidden in the tangle of stems and leaves, preferably just above the level of water. The nest is mainly built from last year's bulrush fluff and sugarcane inflorescence. It is lined with the feathers, bristles and ... fish scales.
In spring and summer birds feed mainly on insects and small invertebrates. In autumn and winter they switch to a diet composed of seeds - mostly these of bulrush and sugarcane. They also swallow tiny pebbles during this period to help them digest hard seeds.
Although the bearded reedling is a year-round resident bird, it is surprisingly sensitive to weather fluctuations, such as a sudden recurrence of winter and strong protracted spring frosts. Especially the latter can decimate local populations. In addition to a capricious aura, a big problem for this bird is fast shrinkage of suitable habitats. In Poland, there are 1800-2500 pairs of these humble and very interesting birds with moustache.
Author: Jacek Karczewski Source: Birds of Poland