Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)


Bush Blackcap (Sylvia nigricapillus)


French: Fauvette à calotte noire German: Kappengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca sudafricana

Turdus nigri capillus

[sic] Vieillot

, 1818,

forests of Bruintjes Hoogte, near Somerset East, Cape Province, South Africa


Previously isolated in Lioptilus within Timaliidae, but genetic data#R reveal that it belongs in present genus. Name nigricapillus is a noun phrase, and threrefore indeclinable#R. Monotypic.


E South Africa (S along escarpments to extreme E Free State and C Eastern Cape) and W Swaziland.

Descriptive notes

17–19 cm; 26–34 g. Small bulbul-like passerine with orange-pink bill, black cap and chin, olive upperparts, grey throat and breast and white belly. Has crown (... read more


Song by male when breeding, and by female when building nest, a loud lively jumble of melodious... read more


Temperate and montane mist-belt broadleaf evergreen forest on slopes, in ravines and kloofs, forest... read more

Food and feeding

Small berries, fruits and invertebrates. Found singly, in pairs or in small groups, sometimes with other frugivores in fruiting trees.... read more


Oct/Nov–Jan. Nest, built by both sexes, a simple, neat cup of grass, leaves, fine blackish twigs and other twigs, roots, forbs and... read more


Resident and partial elevational migrant. Populations breeding in high Drakensberg winter in lower... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in South African Forests EBA. Generally uncommon to locally fairly common, e.g. in Ficksburg area of Free State and in forest... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N., Robson, C. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Bush Blackcap (Sylvia nigricapillus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).