This is quite a large Old World warbler rather badly named for it is only the adult males, after they have moulted out of juvenile plumage, that have black caps. Otherwise the caps are various shades of brown ranging from rich chestnut to dull olive-brown. These birds are pale grey below and brownish above lacking any other diagnostic plumage character.
They breed in woodland and scrubby areas over most of Europe South of the Northern coniferous forests. Their song is particularly pleasing to the Human ear - a varied mixture of fruity warblings. In winter they are mostly found in Southern Europe, North Africa and tropical parts in the West and East. Recently more and more have been found wintering in Britain and Ireland and it has been proved that these are migrants from the breeding population in Southern Germany.
These birds seem to be able to survive well because of garden feeding. The British and Irish breeding population has increased steadily over the last two decades and there are now thought to be well over 600,000 pairs breeding.
A black or brown capped warbler - beware lots of others in Southern Europe.
Length 130 mm Closed wing 75 mm Weight 18 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead