Birds – The Blackcap Warbler

Birds – The Blackcap Warbler

The Blackcap Warbler

The Blackcap Warbler male

In this article we will see: “The Blackcap Warbler “, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Blackcap Warbler

Brief Background

Length: 14 cm; folded wing: 68-81 mm; wingspan: about 23 cm; tail: 57-65 mm; beak: 13 mm. Weight: 20 g.

Appearance and Behaviour

Male: Black cap; gray-brown olive upperparts; ash-gray nape, remaining head, and chest; dirty white belly; yellowish-gray tinted flanks; black beak; reddish-brown eyes; gray legs. Female: Reddish-brown cap; darker upperparts.

Like most Sylviidae, the Blackcap Warbler does not stand out with its plumage. Here, olive-brown, gray, and pale white prevail, against which the male’s black cap and the female’s reddish cap manage to stand out. In addition to its modest plumage, the Blackcap Warbler displays modest behavior and habits. Although it often reaches trees during its daily movements, it is reluctant to expose itself in broad daylight.

 The species is most comfortable in the sheltered tangles of brambles, in regenerated clearings with young shrubs, hedges, brambles, and parks. Near houses, it can even settle in gardens, provided they still retain a small corner of wild and untidy plants that it favors. Between April and July, the male is most vocal, with the intensity, frequency, and duration of its song decreasing as the season progresses.

The Blackcap Warbler

The Blackcap Warbler female

The Blackcap Warbler's voice sample

Preferring to remain hidden while singing, the bird emits a melodic and flutelike passage, starting with a light warble and ending with a flowing “tulitulitulitulit…” In an alert state, it also emits hard and nervous “tak-tak-tak” calls.

Food

The Blackcap Warbler requires a balanced diet to survive. Like its relatives, it consumes a large quantity of insects, caterpillars, spiders, and worms. In summer, it delights in juicy fruits, while berries sustain it during winter.

Reproduction

Upon their return in April, males establish their territories. Anticipating the arrival of females by a few days, they take the opportunity to build preliminary nest structures, but the final choice of the nest site is left to the females. With or without assistance from the males, the females construct the final nest, which is a fairly deep cup made of dry stems, roots, moss, and soft plant materials. The nest is well-hidden in vegetation, either in an evergreen shrub or in a bramble patch.

The Blackcap Warbler's eggs

The Blackcap Warbler’s eggs

The laying of 5 eggs occurs from late April to May. The eggs have a grayish to ochre-gray background with gray and brown markings. Average size: 14 x 19 mm; Weight: 2 g. The two-week incubation period is carried out by both parents, with the female taking the night shift. The chicks are fed by both the father and the mother. They leave the nest at around 10 days old and become independent shortly after. If a second brood occurs, it usually takes place in June.

Migration

While Blackcap Warblers in southern Europe may be sedentary, those in the north, central, and eastern regions leave their territories starting in September. They migrate to sunnier regions and winter in Africa, ranging from the equator to the eastern Mediterranean, depending on whether they originate from Western Europe or come from Scandinavia and the eastern part of the continent.

Distribution

The Blackcap Warbler breeds in Europe, with the exception of western Ireland, Scotland, and northern Scandinavia. The breeding range, occupied by several subspecies, also includes the Cape Verde Islands, the Azores, North Africa, Turkey, and extends to the Ural Mountains.

Training platforms

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A final word

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