The black-headed warbler, a small bird present in the city as in the countryside


Attending the city, its suburbs and the countryside, the black-headed warbler shows a great capacity for adaptation. Not very shy, the little passerine is happy to refuel in the feeders made available to him and will not hesitate to join hands to chase away his fellows!

Description of the family

The black-headed warbler (Sylvia atricapilla) belongs to the order of Passeriformes and to the sylviidae family which includes around twenty species of warblers (garden warbler, gray warbler, babbling warbler, etc.) This vast family is made up of small, even very small passerines with a delicate structure. All sport a short beak, often a head bulging and a narrow tail.

Black beret for the male, red for the female

The black-capped warbler shows plumage light grey more pronounced in males, especially on the head and neck, which contrasts with its cap black. In him, the mantle, the wings and the tail are shades of olive-brown varying according to the individuals, the geographical distribution and the seasons. The lower parts show a whitec shade of ash gray, especially on the sides. The female wears a reddish crown and more conspicuously tinted plumage of olive-brown above and gray-beige in color. Brown clear below. Warblers are characterized by a sharp bill that makes it easier to capture insects. The sparrow measures on average 13 cm and weighs 14 to 20 g. Longevity: 7 years.

The black-capped warbler, partial migratory

The black-capped warbler frequents the whole continent Europeann and Asia as well as almost all of Africa, with the exception of the desert areas. It is only wintering on the large islands of the eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus, Crete). The species is partial migratory: individuals living in the north join the heat during the bad season while the birds of the midday remain sedentary. The increasing frequency of winters soft encourages the inhabitants of the north-eastern quarter of France to stay on site or nearby. Blackcaped warblers travel in groupThey are loose or solo and can travel up to 200 km per night.

The black-capped warbler in parks and gardens

The black-capped warbler lives in wooded areas where the light penetrates and generates a stratum composed of shrubs and bushes. We see it frequently in areas rather open, the edges of the woods, the plots cloudy, the glades. She also appreciates crops, groves, groves and wooded hedges. The warbler is also found in town, along roads, in parks and gardens. The sparrow evolves into mountaine up to 2000 m altitude.

Not very sociable, the black-headed warbler

This very bird active, always on the move in the trees and thickets, only very rarely comes ashore. Not very shy, the little passerine frequents the feeders in winter where it can show itself aggressive and dominant towards other birds. To frighten unwelcome visitors, it inflates its plumage and thus gives itself an intimidating appearance. The species not being gregarious, it usually forages solitary. When food is plentiful, it can tolerate the company of congeners with whom it will not, however, come into contact with it. contactt.

Mixed diet for the blackcap

Insectivorous and frugivoRe, the black-capped warbler feeds mainly on insects during the breeding season: diptera, beetles, aphids, hymenoptera, arachnids, crustaceans, myriapods and other small mollusks are part of its daily menu. After the mating season and throughout the winter, the sparrow sets its sights on the berries mistletoe, elderberry, ivy, yew or on fruits bigger: cherries, raspberries, strawberries, figs, blackberries, currants … Always in action, the bird rarely lands on the ground to eat, preferring to glean its food on the leaves and twigs.

A carefully crafted nest

In Europe, the season of reproduction runs from April to August. The male chooses the location – usually in a bush thick – where the nest will be established up to three meters from the ground. The female weaves the structure with the help of twigs, dry grass and lines the cup with more elements. ends : vegetable fibers, rootlets, animal hair on occasion. This careful work can require almost of them at five days of making.

The little ones quickly gain their independence

The female usually lays four to five eggs Grey pale spotted with brown that will be incubated alternately by the two parents for about thirteen days. The young are fed by the couple for a fortnight but they sometimes leave the nest before and come back only for the feedinge. The brood failure rate is high: one in two chicks dies as a result of predation (the main predator being the domestic cat) or abandonment.

No threat to the black-capped warbler

Common to very common in its range, the black-capped warbler is not an endangered species. If the bird helps rid gardens of insects harmful, it can also feast on the fruits that grow in orchards. To promote his visit to you, the work of brush cutting or thinning during breeding season are not recommended. By installing a feeder, you will be able to observe this not shy bird at all.