Same size as a robin. Male: neat, jet black cap; cold brown-grey upperparts; pale throat and undertail. Female: less distinctive, pale, chestnut-brown cap, slightly browner overall.
Voice guide: The call is a harsh tcek repeated many times if alarmed. The song is a series of very varied warbling notes, becoming louder towards the end.
Diet: insects in the summer, otherwise seed, berries and fruit.
Food to put out: seed cake, seed, peanuts and fruit.
Nesting season: late April to mid-June.
Nest location: open deciduous, coniferous or mixed woodland with bushes and undergrowth.
Nest: a small neat cup-shaped nest made of a variety of plant materials, occasionally with wool and hair and lined with fine grass and hair. Built by both female and male.
Eggs: four to six, 20mm, shiny, unevenly coloured cream eggs sometimes with a tint of red with a few spots, flecks or scribbles of dark brown.
Incubation period: twelve to fourteen days, by female and male.
Fledging time: ten to thirteen days, fed by both parents.
Number of broods reared per year: one to two.
Nest box: no.
Average lifespan: two years.
Oldest known individual: ten years.
Confusion species: None.