Blackcap male

©Amy Lewis

Blackcap female

©Margaret Holland


Scientific name: Sylvia atricapilla
As the name suggests, the male blackcap has a black cap, while the female has a gingery one. Look for this distinctive warbler in woodland, parks and gardens.

Species information


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

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December


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 produce up to two clutches of four to six eggs a year.

How to identify

The blackcap is dark grey; males sport the black cap they are named after, while females have a gingery-brown cap. Easily confused with the marsh tit and willow tit, it can be distinguished by the lack of a black bib.


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

Did you know?

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

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.