The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Bearded Tit

This unusual looking bird is the bearded tit, one our less common UK birds. They can often be seen darting around reeds and tall wheat fields, but their feathers tend to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, so it may be tricky to spot one!

You may know these small birds by another name, such as a ‘bearded reedling’ or a ‘bearded parrotbill’ but they are all referring to the same bird.

What does a bearded tit look like?

The bearded tit is most distinguishable by its black markings underneath each eye. This is often referred to as a ‘moustache’ but also resembles the makeup worn by the band Kiss!

The female bearded tits are more subdued in their markings and colouring. They sport a soft cinnamon colour, similar to that of the males, but they lack the striking black markings and grey head.

To identify a female bearded tit, look for the black and orange feathers on the wings, long red/brown tail and subtle black stripes on their heads.

What does a bearded tit call sound like?

The bearded tit’s call is something you’ve probably heard many times before but never really recognised. It is most commonly heard in open fields or around riversides, where the bearded tit resides.

Its sharp chirp is aggressive and high pitched, allowing it to cut through most other bird song’s. You will also hear a group of bearded tits together, rather than one chirping alone.

Behaviours of a bearded tit

Preferring wetlands, you will often find the bearded tit making its nest amongst reeds and feeding off the insects that hover around the waterside.

Where and when can I see a bearded tit?

The bearded tit is found most often in the southern part of the UK, but some have been known to travel to the North-West area, especially when the weather is warmer.

If you’re looking to spot this small bird, it is best to head out to rural ponds and lakes that have dense reeds. Here, you’ll be able to spot the bearded tit hopping through the reeds and, if you look closely, you may be able to spot a few nests buried deep.

If you do head out and manage to spot a few bearded tits, make sure you document your findings with our Birdspotter app!

This helps us keep on top of the population of all of the UK’s most beloved birds and allows bird spotters nationwide to find the best bird watching spots!

What does a bearded tit eat?

You will find the bearded tit feasting on delicious insects and reed seeds for most of the year. If you happen to live near water or open fields, why not give your local bearded tits some extra nutrition?

We have plenty of different wild bird food products that are formulated to support our wild birds all year round. The bearded tit will love our Insect-a-Mix, or maybe try them with our No Grow Mixture wild bird food, which is filled with sunflower hearts, flaked naked oats, pinhead oats, kibbled maise and rapeseed oil!