Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 232,000-437,000 pairs, which equates to 464,000-875,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.15% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 3,000,000-5,800,000 mature individuals, although this estimate requires further validation. The population in China has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and < c.50 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is difficult to determine as some populations are increasing and others decreasing, and populations are subject to considerable fluctuations (del Hoyo et al. 2007).


This species is found in extensive reedbeds (Phragmites) and is associated with dense non-woody vegetation in and beside fresh and brackish water, or immediately adjoining marshes and swamps. It also uses the tussocky edges of reedbeds, stands of reeds and bulrushes (Typha) in marshes and shores of lakes and rivers. In the western Palearctic it breeds from late March to early September. Both sexes build the nest which is a deep cup-shaped structure of dead reed blades and other marsh-plant leaves, lined with flowering reed-heads and often also feathers and occasionally mammal hair. It is nearly always roofed by sheltering vegetation and is sited amongst close-growing and typically more or less vertical stems of reeds, sedges and other marsh vegetation. Clutches are most commonly four to eight eggs. The diet is mostly invertebrates and their larvae in the summer and vegetable matter in the late autumn and winter. Populations in Europe are mainly fairly sedentary, but are subject to eruptive post-breeding and wintering movements (Robson 2015).


Populations have always been subject to regular annual population fluctuations. However in some areas such as Turkey, the breeding population is thought to be decreasing owing to the drainage of marshland habitat (Robson 2015). Declines have also been reported in the Netherlands as a result of habitat loss (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997), which may also occur due to reed cutting (Burton and Burton 2002). The species is also noted for its sensitivity to severe cold winters (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997) and it has been exploited by the cage-bird trade in the past (Burton and Burton 2002).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed
This species will use nestboxes, particularly when nest sites are in short supply (Wilson 2005). The maintenance of reedbeds large enough to sustain populations of this species is necessary and new reedbeds should be created (Bibby and Lunn 1982).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Panurus biarmicus. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.