Animals

Nightingale

The nightingale is famous for its beautiful and versatile song, which ranges from deep rich, phrases to high trills.

It is a member of the old world flycatcher family, a relative of the European pied flycatcher and belongs to the order of passerines.

The plumage of the nightingale is dull chestnut brown on top and fawn underneath.

Nightingale, photo by J DietrichThe nightingale generally sings only from the last half of May through June.

Nightingales are shy birds and are rarely seen in the open. It is easier to hear them than to see them.

They live in thick undergrowth in deciduous forests, where they are safely hidden from predators.

The nightingale's strong legs and large eyes are well adapted to its habitat.

It has a strong, pointed beak that enables it to find invertebrates, such as worms, caterpillars, insects and spiders in the soil and leaf litter.

The nightingale also uses its beak to feed on berries, which provide it with fuel for its long migration.

A migratory bird, the nightingale breeds in Europe and southwest Asia, then leaves for southern Africa from late July onwards.

Like many other migrants, individual birds often return to the same patch of breeding ground every year.

During the breeding season, nightingales perform a pairing display with ritualized posturing. This display takes place under dense cover and is therefore not often seen.

Nests, which are made of dead leaves and often held together by twigs or thick grass, are always well concealed and are built either on the ground or low in vegetation.

There are usually between four to six speckled brown eggs in a clutch.

A pair usually produces just one brood each season.