Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus)

8 August 2021

I suppose that if you’re reading this, you’re probably into photography or birds or both. For me, photography is a passion for life. Always loved it and always will love it. A few years back, I took up Birding as an interest as well. 

I don’t know about you but, when I dig into something it will be all the way. Meaning, now that birds are my topic I want to photograph all of them. I want to make every next picture better than the one before. Do you know what I mean? So, I’m making a list of all the birds I did shoot and also still want to shoot. Yes, of course, I know the chances of me shooting a Kolibri here in Belgium or the Netherlands (in the wild) for instance are very limited. This Bearded Reedling was on top of my “Eurasian” list, just behind the Black Woodpecker. Lucky me, it was also fairly common in the Netherlands. With all the Covid-19 restrictions in travelling, I decided to finish all Eurasian birds first. However, every time I went out to capture one, I saw a lot of birds but no Bearded Reedlings. Until last week when I went to shoot Bee Eaters in an Aviary. Before I ever saw a Bee Eater, these Bearded Reedlings got in front of my lens. How’s that for a nice surprise?

Female Bearded Reedling

The Bearded Reedling is such a beautiful bird, both male and female. Most often, males wear more colours and stand out within the species. However, when it comes to Bearded Reedlings, the female can enchant you easily just with her beautiful bright eyes.

These birds live in large flocks in big reed areas near water. During the breeding season, they mostly live in pairs and both males and females share the breeding tasks. They’re the absolute swamp specialists. During summer you’ll hear their bright ping sounds coming out of the reeds. During Winter when they changed their diet from insects into reed seeds you can spot males in smaller flocks more easily. They’ll be fluttering thru the reeds. Remarkable is the fact that for this diet change their whole digestive system will adapt. Any harsh winter, however, will be devastating for the population. On the other hand, with females breeding 2 even up to 3 nests per season, a quick recovery of the populations is guaranteed. Some Bearded Reedling pairs will produce 15 up to 20 descendants per year. Nevertheless, the Bearded Reedling stays registered as a protected species. Their character is as beautiful as their looks. They’re very peaceful birds that get along great with other birds in the same habitat. And where most other birds will migrate, the Bearded Reedling stays put (that is, most of them). I was so excited to finally get this bird in front of my camera.  At first, in my excitement, I forgot about all I knew how and where to capture them. It didn’t take too long though to get the photos the way I wanted them. 


In the Netherlands, there are at least 2 areas where larger populations are sighted named “The Biesbosch” and “The Oostvaardersplassen. Both are large nature reserves with giant reed areas. I recommend you go there and visit these beautiful creatures.