Luscinia megarhynchos

Common name:
Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

The nightingale breeds in northwest Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, as far east as north-west China. After the breeding season they migrate southwards to tropical parts of Africa, including western Sahara, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Cameroon, and Nigeria.

These birds are 16-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-24 cm. They weigh 18-23 g.


The nightingale tends to hide in the middle of impenetrable bushes or thickets. They mainly breed in open woodland with thickets and dense patches of vegetation, often bordering water bodies, as well as at the edges and in glades of broadleaf woodland and amongst the undergrowth. They winter in a variety of habitats, including forest edge, secondary growth, riverine and woodland thickets, savanna scrub and thorny scrub.


They mostly prey on invertebrates such as beetles, ants, worms, and spiders found on the ground. They also eat insect larvae. In the autumn they sometimes eat berries and other fruits.

Nightingales breed in April-July. The nest is a bulky cup of dead leaves and grass, lined with fine grasses, feathers and hair, and is placed in a thicket close to the ground. There the female lays 4-5 greenish-brown eggs which she incubates alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching. They remain in the surrounding cover for the next 3-5 days before starting to fly. They continue to be cared for by the parents for another 2-4 weeks, although the female may begin incubating a second clutch during this time, leaving the male to care for the first brood alone.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
With a very large breeding range and a global population of 15-70 million individuals, the nightingale is not threatened. In Europe, population trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase.

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