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UK Nature  > Birds  > Sylvia atricapilla

Scientific Name:   Sylvia atricapilla
Common Name:   Blackcap

Sylvia atricapilla, more commonly known as the Blackcap, is a distinctive greyish warbler, the male having a black cap, and the female a chestnut one; juvenil males also have the chestnut cap. They have thin, dark-coloured beaks and brownish-grey wings.

They are a similar size to robins, measuring around 13cm in length and weighing in at around 21g. Not to be confused with marsh or willow tits - the blackcap lacks the black bib both these species have. Its delightful fluting song has earned it the name 'northern nightingale'. Although primarily a summer visitor, birds from Germany and north-east Europe are increasingly spending the winter in the UK.

Blackcap are best looked for in woodland, parks and gardens with plenty of trees and shrubs. In winter will readily come into gardens. Blackcaps eat a diet mostly made up of insects, including flies and caterpillars. Unlike the majority of warblers, they also enjoy eating berries, and are particularly fond of mistletoe berries. They are actually extremely efficient at spreading mistletoe seeds, eating the flesh of the berry and wiping the seed on a branch, allowing it to potentially germinate there.
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