Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchos

Did you know: Nightingales, known for their enchanting song, sing more intensely in urban environments to overcome background noise.

What Do Nightingales Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Nightingale, a small passerine bird, is renowned for its melodious and powerful song. Measuring 15–17 cm in length, it’s slightly bigger than a European robin. Its plumage is primarily brown, with a buffy or white underside and a reddish tail. The eastern and Caucasian subspecies have pale upper bodies and a pronounced facial pattern, such as a pale supercilium.

Differences Between Male And Female Nightingales

Males and females are similar in appearance. However, the males are the songsters of the species. The females, contrary to historical beliefs, do not actually sing.

What Do Nightingales Eat?

Nightingales feast primarily on insects, making them an integral part of the ecosystem. Their diet includes a variety of invertebrates like flies and beetles.

Where Do Nightingales Live? (inc. migration info)

Nightingales breed in bushy areas and forests across Europe and the Palearctic, wintering in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the UK, they favour coppice and scrub habitats. These birds are migratory, arriving in the UK in April and departing for Africa in late summer. Their preferred habitats are less than 400 m above sea level and in areas with no closed canopy.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Nightingales)

Famed for their song, Nightingales produce a loud and varied melody of whistles, trills, and gurgles. They are most vocal at night and during dawn, with unpaired males often singing at night to attract a mate. Their song is one of nature’s most beautiful sounds, inspiring much cultural and artistic expression.

Fun Nightingale Facts (kid friendly)

  • Nightingales can sing for over an hour without repeating the same tune.
  • They are named for their habit of singing at night or early morning.
  • A Nightingale’s song can be heard up to 1 km away on a quiet night.
  • They are ground nesters, building their nests close to or on the ground.
  • Nightingales migrate long distances between their breeding and wintering grounds.
  • They have been celebrated in literature and music for over 1,000 years.
  • The male Nightingale’s song is used to attract mates and defend territory.
  • Despite their plain appearance, their song makes them one of the most famous birds in the world.
  • They eat insects, playing a vital role in controlling garden pests.
  • Nightingales can adapt their singing style to their environment.

Facts About The Nightingale

Diet: Insects.
Bird Family: Chats
Length: 15-17cm
Wingspan: 23-26cm
Weight: 17-24g
Scientific Name: Luscinia megarhynchos

The Nightingale Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August