Bird of the month – April 2023

Have you seen the bird of the month?

For April it is the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Blackcap - Male
Blackcap – Male

Where can I find them?

They are less common and primarily a spring\summer visitor. 

The best places to look and see them are in Netley Meadow and in shrub\hedge areas.

About the species

The Blackcap is a member of the warbler family and is a distinctive grey in colour.  The male has a black cap, whilst the female has a chestnut coloured one.

With milder winters, some blackcaps are now staying in the UK, during the winter months.

They are a similar size to the Robin (around 13cm in length) and weigh around 21g.

Their diet is made up of mostly insects, including flies and caterpillars, but they will also eat berries.

The species is on the UK green list, meaning its population is currently stable.

What do they sound like?

A call made of rich scratchy, squeaky whistled phrases and sounds.  They also make a variety of other calls including short harsh notes.  Their alarm call sound like two stones being bashed together.

Where do they nest and what is the nest made from?

Nesting normally starts in April.  The nest is normally cup-shaped, made from grass and moss and lined with plant material and fine hair.  It is built in dense vegetation such as brambles, shrubs and hedges.

Incubation is by the female and normally last for around 12 days.  The chicks will fledge the nest around 12-14 day after hatching.  Both parents will continue to feed the young for another two to three weeks.