I’m currently reading the third volume of the Ladybird Book of British Birds and their nests from the 1950s.
Times have changed:
“The Blackcap is really a summer visitor, but if the weather is mild, it sometimes stays in England throughout the winter.”
The RSPB say: “Although primarily a summer visitor birds from Germany and north-east Europe are increasingly spending the winter in the UK.” Well, nothing’s changed there, then, unless the numbers have gone up considerably.
The only sex with the black cap is the male. Female Blackcaps have brown caps. The naming is a standard part of the sexism inherent in birding. Male birds are named first, drawn first, described first and put first. Sometimes the females aren’t mentioned at all. It’s the male which is ‘the bird’ and the female is an extra or an adjunct. Interestingly, when sexism in birding is mentioned, it’s normally all men who complain that it’s nonsense, which does demonstrate some of the problem. Here’s the male, with its black cap:
And here’s the female with its brown cap:
And yes, I did put them in that order, didn’t I?