Abramis brama - Common Bream

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Actinopterygii - Order: Cypriniformes - Family: Cyprinidae

Common bream

Common Bream, also sometimes referred to as Bronze Bream, are fish of sluggish water. Bream are long lived and can attain an age of 20 years in suitable circumstances.Once a major source of food for poor people in some parts of Britain, Common Bream are shoal fish and specimens weighing 10lb (approx. 4.5 kg) are not uncommon. The British rod-caught record, from Ferry Lagoon, Cambridgeshire, weighed 22lb 11oz; it was caught by Scott Cooke in 2011.

Bream are bottom feeders, living mainly on insect larvae from the muddy beds of canals, lakes and slow-flowing rivers. They lay their spawn among weeds in shallow water during June and July, at which time the males develop white lumps, called tubercles, on their heads.

Mature male Bream

Young bream are commonly referred to as skimmers or skimmer bream; they are sometimes mistakenly identified as Silver Bream (Blicca bjoerkna), a much smaller species with large eyes and reddish pectoral and pelvic fins.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Dr Nick Giles.

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