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Polioptila nigriceps

Polioptila nigriceps (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea
Familia: Polioptilidae
Genus: Polioptila
Species: Polioptila nigriceps
Subspecies: P. n. nigriceps - P. n. restricta


Polioptila nigriceps S.F. Baird, 1864

Vernacular names


Review of American birds in the museum of the Smithsonian Instituion. 1 p.69

The Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Polioptila nigriceps, is a very small songbird.

Adults are blue-grey on the upperparts with white underparts, with a long slender bill and a long black tail with white outer tailbands on the uppertail. The undertail is extensively white, showing black only along a thin vertical center line and at the very tip. Males show a prominent black cap. This species is very similar to the California Gnatcatcher and the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.

Their breeding habitat occurs in riparian woodlands of western and northwestern Mexico. It has occasionally nested just across the border in southernmost Arizona, (the Madrean sky islands area), of the United States where it is infrequently found in the summer. They build a small cup nest most often in a horizontal limb of a small tree or shrub. Both parents construct the nest and feed the young. The female normally lays 4 eggs.

These birds are primarily non-migratory, remaining in breeding territories year round.

They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects. They may hover over foliage-(gleaning), or fly to catch insects in flight-(hawking).


* BirdLife International (2004). Polioptila nigriceps. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 10 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

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