Bird of Interest 15 – Blackcap

The Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) is a well-marked and distinctive warbler. The Blackcap has an engaging and musical song, and is easy to identify in all plumages. The sexes are dissimilar. 

The adult male has grey-brown upperparts and paler, dusky grey underparts that are palest on the throat and undertail. There is also a pale eye-ring and diagnostic black cap. The adult female has grey-brown upperparts,pale buffish-grey underparts and a reddish chestnut cap, as well as a pale eye-ring. The alarm call is a sharp tchek, and the song is a rich and musical warble, similar to that of garden warbler.


The species can be found in a variety of habitats, from deciduous woodland with dense undergrowth to areas of scrub and gardens and parks. Several hundred thousand pairs probably breed in the UK, and most – if not all – are summer visitors.

Blackcaps are easy to find throughout the region during the breeding period, and territorial males are often in full song by mid-April.

Reference List:

  • Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.

About Thomas Whitlock

I'm a third student at the University of Reading, currently studied for a degree in Zoology. I have a wide interest in biodiversity, most notably British wildlife. I have an especial interest in British mammals and birds. I hope to become a wildlife cameraman or photographer after I graduate, and I feel that blogging will be a key component of any future job in Zoology. This is my first blog, so please be kind!
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