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Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: _the_WP15.xls.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Population justification
Shirihai et al. (2001) estimated the population to exceed 10 million individuals, but in Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 25-49 million breeding pairs, equating to 75-147 million individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 75-94% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 79.8-196 million individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be increasing owing to afforestation and land use changes leading to increased shrubby growth in parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 2006). In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (p<0.01), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008).

Bezzel, E.; Jetz, W. 1995. Delay of the autumn migratory period in the Blackcap (Sylvia atricappila) 1966-1993: A reaction to global warming? Journal für Ornithologie 136: 83-87.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Crick, H. Q. P.; Dudley, C.; Glue, D.E.; Thomson, D.L. 1997. UK birds are laying earlier. Nature 388: 526.

Crick, H. Q. P.; Sparks, T.H. 1999. Climate change related to egg-laying trends. Nature 399: 423-424.

Croxton, P. J.; Sparks, T. H.; Cade, M.; Loxton, R. G. 2006. Trends and temperature effects in the arrival of spring migrants in Portland (United Kingdom) 1959-2005. Acta Ornithologica 41: 103-111.

Hüppop, O.; Hüppop, K. 2003. North Atlantic Oscillation and timing of spring migration in birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 270: 233-240.

Jenni, L.; Kery, M. 2003. Timing of autumn bird migration under climate change: advances in long-distance migrants, delays in short-distance migrants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 270(1523): 1467-1471.

Jonzén, N.; Lindén, A.; Ergon, T.; Knudsen, E.; Vik, J. O.,;Rubolini, D.; Piacentini, D.; Brinch, C.; Spina, F.; Karlsson, L.; Stervander, M.; Andersson, A.; Waldenström, J.; Lehikoinen, A.; Edvardsen, E.; Solvang, R.; Stenseth, N. C. 2006. Rapid advance of spring arrival dates in long-distance migratory birds. Science 312(5782): 1959-1961.

Mason, C .F. 1995. Long-term trends in the arrival dates of spring migrants. Bird Study 42: 182-189.

Shirihai, H.; Gargallo, G.; Helbig, A. J. 2001. Sylvia warblers: identification, taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus Sylvia. Helm, London.

Sparks, T. H.; Huber, K.; Bland, R. L.; Crick, H. Q. P.; Croxton, P. J.; Flood, J.; Loxton, R. G.; Mason, C. F.; Newnham, J.A.; Tryjanowski, P. 2007. How consistent are trends in arrival (and departure) dates of migrant birds in the UK? Journal of Ornithology 148: 503-511.

Stervander, M.; Lindström, A.; Jonzén, N.; Andersson, A. 2005. Timing of spring migration in birds: long-term trends, North Atlantic Oscillation and the significance of different migration routes. Journal of Avian Biology 36: 210-221.

Tøttrup, A. P.; Thorup, K.; Rahbek, C. 2006. Patterns of change in timing of spring migration in North European songbird populations. Journal of Avian Biology 37: 84-92.

Tryjanowski, P.; Kuzniak, S.; Sparks, T. H. 2002. Earlier arrival of some farmland migrants in western Poland. Ibis 144: 62-68.

Vahatalo, A. V.; Rainio, K.; Lehikoinen, A.; Lehikoinen, E. 2004. Spring arrival of birds depends on the North Atlantic Oscillation. Journal of Avian Biology 35: 210-216.

Zalakevicius, M.; Bartkeviciene, G.; Raudonikis, L.; Janulaitis, J. 2006. Spring arrival response to climate change in birds: a case study from eastern Europe. Journal of Ornithology 147: 326-343.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Sylvia atricapilla. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,860,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species