Blackcap

Irish Name: Caipín dubh
Scientific name: Sylvia atricapilla
Bird Family: Warblers
green
Conservation status

Status

Scarce summer visitor to woodlands in the midlands and northern Ireland from April to September. Also a scarce passage migrant mainly in spring and autumn to headlands on southern and western coasts. Although Irish-breeding Blackcaps still migrate southwards in the autumn, some Blackcaps from the population that breeds in Central Europe migrate to Ireland to spend the winter. One of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds

Identification

About the same size as a Robin. Adult male Blackcaps have a distinct black cap, covering most of the head. The rest of the body is a rather grey-colour, while the vent is white. Adult female Blackcaps have pale brown cap, similar in extent to that of the male. The rest of the body is grey-brown, not as dark as the male.

Voice

A hard "teck", frequently given in a long series. Also infrequently gives a "yu-teck" call. The song is one of the most beautiful songs of all Irish songbirds. It is a rich, melodic series of notes ending in an ecstatic series of flute-like notes.

Diet

Feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates during the summer. In winter, takes berries (Ivy, Rowan), as well as scraps from bird tables. Will use peanut feeders.

Breeding

Widespread in lowlands throughout Ireland. Breeds in dense decidous woodlands and in mature hedgerows.

Wintering

The majority of the Irish population migrate south to winter in Iberia and North Africa. There is a small wintering population, mainly in the east and south of Ireland. Recoveries of ringed Blackcaps have shown that the majority of these wintering birds originate from Central Europe.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey and Garden Bird Survey

Similar Species

Garden Warbler

Irish Name:
Ceolaire garraí
Scientific name:
Sylvia borin
Bird Family:
Warblers

Willow Warbler

Irish Name:
Ceolaire sailí
Scientific name:
Phylloscopus trochilus
Bird Family:
Warblers

Chiffchaff

Irish Name:
Tiuf-teaf
Scientific name:
Phylloscopus collybita
Bird Family:
Warblers

Lesser Whitethroat

Irish Name:
Gilphíb bheag
Scientific name:
Sylvia curruca
Bird Family:
Warblers