Black-capped Gnatcatcher

Polioptila nigriceps

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Gnatcatchers and Gnatwrens (Polioptillidae)

Code 4

BCGN

Code 6

POLNIG

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-capped Gnatcatcher is a small songbird which breeds in the woodlands of western and northwestern Mexico. It can at times be found in southern Arizona as well, especially during the summer months. This species is largely non-migratory, and tends to stay in or near its breeding grounds all year long. They are foragers, feeding on insects on land or in air. Male Black-capped Gnatcatchers display a noticeable black cap above the characteristic blue-gray body, and these birds look much like the California Gnatcatcher and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. The Black-capped Gnatcatcher currently has a conservation rating of Least Concern, as populations are either stable or increasing over recent years.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-capped Gnatcatcher: Very small. Black cap, blue-gray upperparts, black tail, gray white underparts. Long slender black beak. The outer tail feathers mostly white gives underside of tail a white appearance when tail closed. Weak fluttering direct flight with shallow wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Black-capped Gnatcatcher: This species has a very limited range. It is a resident of western Mexico along the Pacific Coast, but does not occur in Baja California; it is a rare breeder in southeastern Arizona and has recently been documented breeding in extreme southwestern New Mexico. Inhabits riparian woodlands.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"mee-ur"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Because of its small size, they are usually difficult to see unless a male is singing. Even with that, their voice is so thin, that it is beyond the audible range of many people.
  • Males acquire their distinctive partial black caps in February.
  • The Black-capped Gnatcatcher is a recent addition to the United States. It was discovered nesting in Patagonia, Arizona in 1971.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Black-capped Gnatcatcher

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Ashli Maruster

Artist

David Wenzel

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
RiparianX
Relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater. 
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
EyebrowX
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X