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Blackcap and Garden Warbler (1 Viewer)

Keith Dickinson

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Hells' bells mate that's a big one!
The answer is to start by listening to the song, finding the bird and id'ing it from there. Do that often enough and you start to get to grips with separating them on song alone. Even now after nearly 30 years I'm always happiest when I see the bird rather than relying on song alone. I do a BBS square for the BTO and both garden and blackcap are found there.... it can be a real swine if I get a singing bird that isn't easily viewable, as sometimes what I first think is a spot on blackcap turns out to be a garden and vice versa.
 

G Anderson

Registered User
I have trouble with these two songs every Spring! I would say that Garden is more melodic or has some thrush-like tunefulness, is less scratchy and er, 'warmer'(!) sounding than Blackcap.

I have to learn them every single year it seems! G
 

Keith Dickinson

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Same as me....
I have trouble with these two songs every Spring! I would say that Garden is more melodic or has some thrush-like tunefulness, is less scratchy and er, 'warmer'(!) sounding than Blackcap.

I have to learn them every single year it seems! G
 

vanellus

Andrew Hodson
Like the other respondents, I have to refresh my 'ear' each time.

I always think that a Blackcap has a Blackbird quality to its song with little bits of Whitethroat thrown in whereas a Garden Warbler has some of the liquid elements of a Nightingale. A Blackcap is never as scratchy as a Whitethroat.

I find that Blackcaps tend to sing from just above head height to mid canopy whereas Garden Warblers are often much lower down and in thicker cover.

The problem with seeing the bird is that Blackcaps are usually easier to spot, but difficulty in finding the bird does not necessarily indicate Garden Warbler.
 

Andy Hall

Notts Birder and Recorder
To add to earlier comments. Blackcaps can sound like Garden Warblers but not the other way round. In my experience, Blackcaps usually tag a short flutey phrase to the end of their song, which GWs never do. The latter just end abruptly.
 

paulwfromtheden

Well-known member
To add to earlier comments. Blackcaps can sound like Garden Warblers but not the other way round. In my experience, Blackcaps usually tag a short flutey phrase to the end of their song, which GWs never do. The latter just end abruptly.

Yes, agree, the flutey bit at the end is a good guide
 

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