Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Day 184 - Beautiful Blackcaps

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) at Ripon
Hey everyone. Day 184 today and I thought I'd give a bit of attention to a bird that didn't seem to be that well loved based on a mini poll that I did recently. They're not the most spectacular looking of birds, but they are quite pretty all the same. My Dad likes to see them because of their beautiful song. I'm talking today about the Blackcap.

I thought I had more than one photo of these birds but when I looked at them the better one turned out to be a Marsh Tit! Thanks to @birdbrainuk I have managed to include a nice shot of one (thanks again Dave).

So I did my research and found out the following:

  • They were considered to be a Summer visitor to the UK coming here from their wintering grounds of North East Europe. However it seems more and more are spending all of the year with us now. 
  • There are estimated to be 1.1 million territories in the UK in the summer - so you'd think they would be easier to photograph!
  • Blackcaps like a habitat with lots of trees and shrubs so you will find them in woodland and parkland, maybe even your garden if it has lots of cover. They come into gardens more in the winter looking for food - I did once have one briefly on our bird table!
  • They are a warbler, grey with a black cap if male and chestnut if female, and described as stocky by the BTO.
  • They have a very pretty song and because of this they are sometimes called the 'northern nightingale'. I've linked a great Youtube video of their song so you can hear it too.
  • They are 13cm long, with a wingspan of 22cm and weigh just 21g.
    Blackcap (thanks @birdbrainuk)
  • In the winter they eat mainly fruit but will come to bird tables. When breeding they will also eat insects.
  • They typically live 2 years but the oldest recorded bird managed to stick it out for 10 years, 8 months and 15 days.
  • The only collective noun I found for blackcaps is a dissimulation - I've no idea why that should be.
  • Happily they seem to have had a breeding increase in recent years so they have a green status!
A lovely bird to see and hear! If you want to find out more try these links:

Hope you enjoyed,


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