Bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus) is my latest commissioned bird illustration.
I worked with: ink pens (Pigma micron, Pigma sacura, Uni pin), watercolours (Winson & Newton) and coloured pencils (Faber-Castell) on a 300g/m2 watercolour paper (Canson).
You can see some other sketches I did before the final version on my Instagram
Bearded tits are sandy brown with long tails, yellow bills and eyes. It is frequently known as the bearded tit, due to some similarities to the long-tailed tit, or the bearded parrotbill. The males have grey heads with a conspicuous black ‘moustache’ that flanks the throat. Females are duller and lack the moustache. They are sociable and noisy, their 'ping' calls often being the first clue to their presence. Bearded tits survive in the reedbeds all year round by changing their diet from insects during the spring and summer, to seeds in the autumn and winter. Bearded reedling, or bearded tit, is a stout bird found across Europe. Living in wetlands, they're experts at balancing on the thin reeds that sprout from marshes and perform incredible splits to keep themselves balanced. They cope with this by altering their gut morphology, and by eating large amounts of grit particles that help to grind down the tough seed fibres.
I saw Bearded tit for the first time, and only, in a La Cañada de los Pájaros which was born in 1987 when the lovely people who I had chance to chat with bought a piece of land full of garbage and completely worthless. It was the very first private experience in Spain of restoration and management of gravel sites. During these 20 years they converted a rubbish dump into a wetland, which is included in The Natural Space Network of Andalucía and maintains very big biodiversity.
The number of wintering and nesting birds every year this place receives is incredibly impressive.