Nest timing, nest site selection and nest structure in a high latitude population of Bearded Reedlings Panurus biarmicus
Capsule: Bearded Reedlings Panurus biarmicus show consistent nest timing, select old, compacted areas of reed when positioning their nests, and may adjust nest structure in relation to local reed characteristics and temperature.
Aims: To investigate the nest timing, nest site selection and nest structure of a rare and elusive passerine, the Bearded Reedling at the northern limit of this species’ range.
Methods: A sample of Bearded Reedling nests from the Tay Reedbeds in Scotland were located and monitored with regard to the timing of nesting, fate, fine-scale habitat characteristics and nest structure.
Results: First egg dates and brood sizes were consistent between years of the study despite variation in spring temperatures. Bearded Reedlings nested within unmanaged patches of reed, positively selecting deep leaf litters and compacted reed. Attributes of nest structure, namely internal and external diameter, were influenced by nest site characteristics and local temperature.
Conclusion: Despite a limited sample size, the study suggests that reedbed management should ensure adequate areas of old, dry and unmanaged reed are available when aiming to encourage breeding Bearded Reedlings. Additionally, the apparently flexible structure of the nest may assist this species when coping with changeable climatic conditions.