Sylvia atricapilla Linnaeus, 1758 ♂
Common names: Eurasian Blackcap [En], Fauvette à tête noire [Fr], Zwartkop [Nl], Mönchsgrasmücke [De], Capinera [It], Curruca capirotada [Es], Μαυροσκούφης [Gr], Karabaş ötleğen [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Tubize, BRABANT ● Belgium
Description: The Blackcap is a mainly grey warbler with distinct male and female plumages. The nominate subspecies is about 13 cm (5.1 in) long with a 7–8 cm (2.8–3.1 in) wing length.
The adult male has olive-grey upperparts, other than a paler grey nape and a neat black cap on the head. The underparts are light grey, becoming silvery white on the chin, throat and upper breast. The tail is dark grey, with an olive tint to the outer edge of each feather. The bill and long legs are grey, and the iris is reddish-brown. The female resembles the male, but has a reddish-brown cap and a slightly browner tone to the grey of the upperparts. Juveniles are similar to the female, but their upperparts have a slight rufous tinge, and the breast and flanks have a more olive tone; young males have a darker brown cap than their female counterparts.
• S. a. atricapilla Linnaeus, 1758 – Europe (except Mediterranean area), northwestern Asia; winters northwestern Europe south to tropical western Africa.
• S. a. gularis Alexander, 1898 (syn. S. a. atlantis) – Breeds and winters Azores and Cape Verde – Slightly shorter wing than nominate, greyer underparts and nape.
• S. a. heineken Jardine, 1830 (syn. S. a. obscura) – Breeds and winters Madeira, Canary Islands, southwestern Iberia, perhaps Morocco, Algeria. – Males are browner above than the nominate subspecies, females are more rufous above, olive below.
• S. a. pauluccii Arrigoni degli Oddi, 1902 – Breeds and winters eastern Iberia, Italy, western Mediterranean islands, and perhaps Tunisia. – Like nominate, but greyer above and darker below, white confined to centre of belly.
• S. a. dammholzi Stresemann, 1928 – Breeds southwestern Asia and winters tropical eastern Africa. – Like nominate, but longer-winged and paler.
Biology: Blackcaps first breed when they are one year old, and are mainly monogamous, although both sexes may sometimes deviate from this. A male attracts a female to his territory. He also builds one or more simple nests. The final nest is a neat cup of roots, stems and grasses lined with fine material such as hair. It is constructed mainly by the female. The clutch is typically 4–6 eggs (range 2–7), which are usually buff with grey and brown blotches and a few dark brown spots. The eggs are incubated for an average of 11 days (range 10–16). Both adults incubate, although only the female stays on the nest at night. The chicks fledge about 11–12 days after hatching, leaving the nest shortly before they are able to fly. They are assisted with feeding for a further two or three weeks.
Habitat: Mature deciduous woodland, with good scrub cover below the trees, parks, large gardens and overgrown hedges.
Distribution: Birds on the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands and in the milder west and south of the main Eurasian distribution often winter within the nesting range, but populations elsewhere are migratory. The Blackcap is a leap-frog migrant; birds from the north of the breeding range travel furthest south, whereas Mediterranean breeders move much shorter distances.
Wikipedia, Eurasian Blackcap