The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Blackcap

male blackcap guide

The blackcap is a beautiful warbler bird that is indeed distinguishable by its unique black cap. If you’ve spotted a small grey bird with a black cap in your garden, chances are it’s a blackcap! In this guide, we take a look at some of the most interesting blackcap bird facts, including what they look like, what they eat and all there is to know about blackcap migration. Take a look!

What does a blackcap look like?

The beautiful Eurasian blackcap is a small bird of the warbler family (along with the reed warbler) that is just 13cm in size. The difference between male and females is minimal. A male blackcap has a black patch on the top of his head, hence the name blackcap, whereas a female blackcap actually has a chestnut coloured cap.

female blackcap

What does the blackcap eat?

The blackcap’s diet consists of insects during the breeding season of but they will switch to fruits, berries, seeds and nuts during the summer months. This is because they require more sugar and energy for migration after breeding season, which can be provided by the likes of fruit or bird peanuts on your feeder.

What does a blackcap sound like?

Have a listen to the blackcap song below to see if you recognise it!

Where can I spot a blackcap?

Blackcaps are often found in woodland areas utilising the scrub cover below trees. They are also frequent visitors to our gardens and parks, particularly when there is a regular food supply. 

You’ll be able to spot a Eurasian blackcap in most areas of the UK throughout all 12 months of the year, however breeding blackcaps will arrive in April and May before leaving again during September/October time.

Blackcap migration

Around 50-60 years ago, blackcap’s were summer visitors to the UK. However, due to milder winters, many blackcaps are now residents here. It’s also thought that our generous garden feeding habits are attracting blackcaps to stick around all year long! Those that do migrate will do so from colder, highland areas and will migrate to warmer climates in North Africa in early Autumn.

If you spot a blackcap in your garden, don’t forget to log it using our Birdspotter map!

Interesting facts about the blackcap

  • They are mostly monogamous birds. Many are thought to have one partner for life!
  • The male attracts the female blackcap to his territory by a song and dance. The impressive dance features the male raising his black feathers, fluffing his tail and flapping his wings!
  • They leave the nest around 11 days after hatching and are known to fledge the nest as soon as they can fly.
  • There are thought to be around 1.2 million breeding territories of blackcap in the UK, with 3,000 wintering birds.

Do you have any pictures of blackcap visitors to your garden or park? Share them with us on Facebook!