Bearded Tits in Hyde Park

….. and where did I find these gems of the bird world? Hyde Park in Central London!

Bearded Tits 17th Jan2

I took this photo with my standard camera lens, the birds were so close no long lens was required!

Read on to hear my experience of these wonderful birds….

I have hunted bearded tits in various locations, hearing their calls emitting from reed beds, but never successfully laying eyes on one, until today! When I laid my eyes upon two beautiful, acrobatic females. I was first struck by the warmth of colour in the plumage; a glorious chestnut brown covers the body. The white on the wing is striking by contrast, and is effective in breaking up the outline of the bird, so it seems to magically disappear in the reeds.

The thin dark legs and grasping feet are used skillfully to maneuver within the dense reeds; sometimes the birds would appear to do the splits as they grabbed one reed in each leg and hung in the space between.  My favourite bit of bearded tit acrobatics was watching them hop on to the feathery head of a reed, which would immediately bend over under the birds weight. The little passengers would just hang on and ride the reed until it came to a holt, at an equilibrium between the strength of the reed stem and the weight of the bird. I couldn’t help thinking this ride looked like great fun!

Female bearded tits are in fact beardless; they lack the long dark eye stripes of the males. So in the true fashion of wildlife watching, I have left some joys till next time…. when I will resume my hunt for a beard in the reeds!

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