Living Coasts has welcomed some new arrivals as four bearded reedlings move from Newquay Zoo in Cornwall to the tranquil estuary habitat of its sister zoo in Devon.
This small orange-brown bird with a long tail and yellowy-orange bill is found only in small pockets in the UK, mainly in the south and east. The largest single population in Great Britain is found at the mouth of the River Tay in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
The male has a grey head – but strangely, what it doesn’t have is a beard… more of a moustache, with the female generally paler. This species loves wetlands, breeding in large reed beds by lakes or swamps, eating aphids in summer and seeds in winter. Research suggests that these birds are unique, with no other living species particularly closely related to them.
The Trust’s UK Conservation Officer, Dr Tracey Hamston, said: “This is a good species for us to have at Living Coasts. They fit perfectly with our estuary habitat there and they have been seen at Slapton Ley, which is a key wetlands site owned by the Trust. They therefore link with our native species work and our Nearby Nature theme. This is a great opportunity for birdwatchers to see this elusive native species.”
For further information on visiting Living Coasts go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk