Blackcap perched on branch singing (c) Adrian Dancy


Blackcaps are known as northern nightingales, because of their lovely song. Although they look rather different from their close relatives, garden warblers, the song is virtually identical - close enough even to confuse each other. Those with a keen ear can tell the two apart, as the blackcap has longer pauses in its performance. Many blackcaps are migratory, heading to the warm climates of Spain and Africa for the winter. However, some choose to stay in Britain all winter, perhaps because of bird feeders in people's gardens.

Scientific name: Sylvia atricapilla

Rank: Species

Common names:

Northern nightingale


Map showing the distribution of the Blackcap taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Blackcap can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Blackcap distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


Characters we've followed

BBC News about Blackcap