Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Sylviidae
BTO Codes: BC, BLACA EURING No: 12770
Number in Britain: 1.1 million Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
UK: GREEN
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: atricapilla recorded in Britain (of 5 subsp. in the world)
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Length: 13 cm Wingspan: 22 cm Weight: M/F: 21 g    
Scientific name from: L.: silva=a wood and L.: ater=black + capillus=capped
World Distribution: BREEDS: Europe, w Asia, WINTERS: south to tropical Africa
Habitat: Forest, open woodland, towns
Diet: Summer, insects, otherwise fruit mainly in scrub, will come to bird-tables in winter
TitBit: Once regarded as a summer visitor, Blackcaps can now be seen all year round, particularly in the south, but the winter birds are thought to be mostly visitors from central Europe rather than British breeders who have stayed on.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1.1 million Territories in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: atricapilla GREEN
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Deciduous Wood
    Also common in: Scrub
    And found in: Villages
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
Average Day of First Arrival: 31 Mar
European Population Size:
    Summer: 20 to 41 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: Bern(III), Bonn(II)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from Garden BirdWatch

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 20 x 15 mm Egg Weight: 2.2 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 96   (more would be welcome!)
Clutch Size: 4 - 5 eggs 4.56 ± 0.73 (2 - 7) N = 1255
Incubation: 13- 14 days 13.14 ± 1.59 (10.5 - 16.5) N = 1255   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 11 - 12days 11.07 ± 1.30 (8.5 - 13) N = 1410 as: Altricial, naked
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 10 May (26 Apr - 19 Jun)
Number of Broods: 1-2
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.436 ± 0.018    (M:0.456 ± 0.066; F:0.292 ± 0.093)      
Juvenile Survival: 0.356 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 2 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 10 years 8 months 15 days (set in 1988)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries

Biometrics

Ring Size: A (pulli B)
Wing Length Adult: 74.8 ± 2.0 Range 72 - 78 mm, N =24217
Juvenile: 74.6 ± 2.1 72 - 77 mm, N =52901
Male: 74.8 ± 2.0 72 - 78 mm, N =13613
Female: 74.8 ± 2.0 72 - 78 mm, N =10514
Weight Adult: 17.69 ± 2.04 Range 15.40 - 21.00 g , N =21657
Juvenile: 18.87 ± 2.09 16.00 - 22.70 g , N =48922
Male: 17.36 ± 2.17 15.30 - 20.30 g , N =12124
Female: 18.10 ± 1.80 15.60 - 21.50 g , N =9454
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Eurasian Blackcap
Gaelic: Ceann-dubh Welsh: Telor Penddu
Danish: Munk Dutch: Zwartkop
Finnish: Mustapääkertut French: Fauvette à tête noire
German: Mönchsgrasmücke Hungarian: Barátposzáta
Icelandic: Hettusöngvari Irish: Caipín Dubh
Italian: Capinera Norwegian: Munk
Polish: Kapturka Portuguese: Toutinegra-de-barrette-preto
Spanish: Curruca capirotada Swedish: Svarthätta
Local Names: Haychat, Mock Nightingale

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Mason, C.F. 1995 The blackcap Hamlyn, London [598.915 MAS]
   Garcia, E. 1989 The Blackcap and the Garden Warbler Shire Publications, Princes Risborough [Jour: S]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides