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Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Nightingales are relatively dull in colour but they are famed for their rich and distinctive song.

Common name: nightingale

Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchos

Family: Turdidae (chats and thrushes)


Head: predominantly brown with a few slight grey areas and a white-grey throat. 

Wings: light brown in colouration with no distinct markings. 

Body: light brown body colouration, but paler underparts with a grey tinge to them. The tail is also light brown.

Listen to the nightingale:

Where to spot

A migratory bird which arrives in spring, it can be found in the south east of the UK in areas of thick vegetation, such as bushes and scrub as well as coppice woodland.


Invertebrates, such as flies and beetles.


Breeding occurs between April and June, during which time four to five eggs are laid. The nest is constructed with leaves as well as grass, usually at ground level. Chicks will fledge when they are around 12 days old.


  • The song of the nightingale is often the only clue to its presence as it is a secretive bird.
  • It can be heard singing between the months of April and June.
  • Nightingales famously featured during an outside live BBC radio broadcast in May 1924. The birds could be heard singing while Beatrice Harrison played the cello.
  • The nightingale will start its migration back to their wintering grounds from July to September.

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