222. BEARDED REEDLING.
Panurus biarmicus, (Linn.) Syst. Nat. i. p. 342 (1766) ; (Naum.) iv. p. 98, Taf. 96 ; (Hewitson), i. p. 161, pl. xl. fig. 3 ; (Gould), B. of E. iii. pl. 158 ; (id.) B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 30 ; Newton, i. p. 511 ; (Dresser), iii. p. 49, pl. 102 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus viii. p. 77 ; Saunders, p. 99 ; Lilford, ii. p. 98, pl. 43.
Mesange a moustaches, French ; Bigotudo, Chahuet, Span. ; Basettino, Ital. ; Bart - Rohrmeise German ; Bardmannetje, Dutch ; Skjoegmeise, Dan. ; Usataya-sinitsa, Russ.
Male ad. (Holland). Head clear blue-grey ; lores, a demi-eyebrow and an elongated moustache black ; back rich fawn ; scapulars white tinged with fulvous ; quills brown margined with white and fawn ; primary and median coverts black, edged with white and fawn ; tail rusty red the external feathers edged and tipped with grey ; throat and upper breast greyish white, the sides of the latter delicate pink ; abdomen fulvous white ; flanks fawn ; vent and under tail-coverts black ; bill and iris orange-yellow ; legs black. Culmen 0.35, wing 2.35, tail 3.3, tarsus 0.75 inch. The female lacks the black moustache and has the vent and under tail-coverts fawn, the upper parts greyish fawn tinged with rufous, the under parts duller than in the male, the lores and cheeks dirty white, and the throat and abdomen greyish white. The young bird resembles the female but has the crown and back striped with black.
Hab. Europe as far north as southern Denmark and Great Britain, south to the Mediterranean ; Asia Minor, southern Russia, east to Turkestan and Mongolia, where it has been obtained on the Koko-nor. In England it is now rare, except on the Norfolk Broads, and resident.
Frequents marshes and fens where there are large reed-beds, and feeds on aquatic insects in summer and seeds, chiefly those of the common reed, in winter. Its flight is short and low, only just clearing the reed-tops. Its note is musical, and has been described as ping, ping and zit, zit, and during the breeding- season zit-zrrrr.
It breeds in April and again in July or early in August. The nest is placed amongst the reeds close to the ground, constructed of dry grasses and reed-fibres, lined with the same but finer materials ; is round, the opening small. The eggs, from 4 to 6 or even 7 in number, are white, sparsely covered with irregular reddish brown scratches, and measure about 0.73 by 0.55.
Eastern birds are considerably paler than those from the west, and are by some naturalists considered as subspecifically separable, the eastern form having been named, P. sibericus (Bp.), Compt. Rend, 1856, p. 414.
222. Panurus biarmicus
222. BEARDED REEDLING.