Sylvia atricapilla

Key Facts

  • Length: 13-14cm
  • Wingspan: 22cm
  • Weight: 21g
  • Average Lifespan: 2 years

The Blackcap is a medium-sized warbler mostly found in woodland and tall scrub, but also in gardens, particularly during the winter.

Blackcaps were once just summer visitors to the UK, but can now be seen all year-round as winter migrants from Germany and north-east Europe appear from September onwards. Blackcaps will feed on insects in summer and berries and fruit in winter. They nest in hedges or brambles and manage up to two clutches a year of four to six eggs.

How to Identify

Blackcaps are dark grey, the males sporting the black cap they are named after. Females have a gingery-brown cap. Easily confused with the Marsh Tit and Willow Tit, but can be distinguished by the lack of a black bib.

Where to Find

Widespread, mostly as a summer visitor, but will visit gardens in winter.

How People Can Help

You can help to look after Blackcaps and other garden birds by providing food and water for them – it doesn’t matter if you have a big garden or live in a high-rise flat, there are plenty of feeders, baths and food choices out there to suit all kinds of situations. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there’s plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Did you know?

Blackcaps are known as the ‘Nightingale of the North’ because of their beautiful song.

Similar Species