Bird Watching

Bird species: Blackcap – small insect hunter

Blackcap - Small bug hunter
Surname blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Size 13-15 cm
distribution Europe, North Africa
habitat Forests, parks, gardens
breeding season April – August
food Spiders, insects, berries

A species of bird in the warbler family, the blackcap is a small, lively bird that feeds primarily on insects. However, the name warbler has nothing to do with the bird’s eating habits, but is derived from the old German word “smücke” (= slipper).


The blackcap is just 15 centimeters long and is therefore slightly smaller than a sparrow. The full plumage is green-grey with tan highlights, with the top being gray and the belly more olive-colored. The females in particular are brownish on the sides, which allows them to be distinguished from the male blackcap. Determining the sex of the bird species is also made easier by the blackcap’s characteristic head plate: while the male has a deep black head plate, which gives it its name, that of the female is rusty brown.


Like all warblers, the blackcap loves bushes and shrubs. Here she finds not only smaller spiders and insect larvae, but also many berries and fruits. That is why the blackcap is widespread in Germany and can also be found in many gardens.

behavior and knowledge

Young male blackcaps do not yet have a distinctive black head plate and can therefore easily be confused with female animals. In the first winter the color changes and with a bit of luck young birds with two-tone caps can be observed. Like all bird species from the warbler family, the blackcap has a characteristic song that is loud and persistent, especially during the breeding season. It consists of a combination of chattering and chirping sounds that are performed in short stanzas. Best to hear for yourself: blackcap singing.

Photo by Fleuber from Pixabay


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