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Quick facts

Common name(s): nightingale

Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchos

Family: Turdidae (chats and thrushes)

Habitat: scrub and coppice woodland

Diet: invertebrates

Predators: raptors and mammals

Origin: native

What do nightingales look like?

Nightingales are predominantly brown with a few slight grey areas, a white-grey throat pale underparts with a grey tinge to them. Their wings and tail are light brown in colouration with no distinct markings.

What do nightingales eat?

Nightingales feed on invertebrates like flies and beetles.

Nightingale eggs in nest

Credit: Buiten Beeld / Alamy Stock Photo

How do nightingales breed?

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.

Do nightingales migrate?

Yes, nightingales arrive in the spring when they come to breed. The nightingale will start its migration back to their wintering grounds from July to September.

Where do nightingales live?

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.

Signs and spotting tips

Nightingales are very secretive birds but keep a keen ear out for their distinctive song between April and June.

Nightingale song

Audio: Terry Barnatt / xeno-canto.org