Birds – The nightingale

Birds – The nightingale

The nightingale

The nightingale male

In this article we will see: “The nightingale “, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The nightingale

Brief Background

The nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) is a small bird species found in woodlands, fields, and gardens. It measures about 16 cm in length, with a wingspan of 79 to 90 mm. The upper body is pale brown, the chest is brownish, and the throat and belly are whitish. It has a reddish tail, dark brown beak, black eyes, and gray-brown legs. There is no sexual dimorphism in this species.

Appearance and Behaviour of: The nightingale

The nightingale is known for its modest appearance, lacking bright colors or intricate patterns. Its plumage consists of dull brown and whitish tones, with only the warm reddish hue of the tail adding some color. Perhaps to remain inconspicuous, nightingales seldom venture out of thickets and understory areas, preferring the soft, humid shade.

They avoid open spaces and high branches but tolerate drier areas as long as there is sufficient vegetation cover. Nightingales spend most of their time on the ground or near the forest floor, often among fallen leaves and moss. Their unremarkable appearance and discreet behavior make them challenging to observe, and they often go unnoticed.

The nightingale

The nightingale female

Fortunately, the nightingale compensates for its inconspicuous appearance with its remarkable song. Especially in the evening and at night, but also during the day, the nightingale’s unique and resonant melodies can be heard rising from thickets. It performs a variety of trills, whistles, and astonishing modulations, sometimes separated, sometimes connected, and delivered with different intensities and tempos depending on the singer’s mood, the time of day, and the weather.

The nightingale's voice sample

Food of: The nightingale

This exceptional musician feeds on insects, small worms, spiders, and occasionally includes wild berries in its diet, depending on the season.

Reproduction of: The nightingale

Upon their arrival in April, male nightingales immediately take up their usual singing posts and rarely leave except to forage. The females join them a bit later, and courtship displays begin. Similar to robins, male nightingales do not tolerate the presence of rivals. The female constructs the nest, a large bowl-shaped structure that is well-hidden, consisting of dead leaves and lined with dry grass and roots. The nest is often placed within the vegetation cover or in brambles a few centimeters above the ground.

The nightingale's eggs

The nightingale’s eggs

The female lays 5 eggs in May. The eggs have a brownish-olive background color, sometimes revealing a bluish undertone. They measure an average of 15.5 x 21 cm and weigh about 2.6 g. The female alone takes care of the two-week incubation period.

The young birds, fed by both adults, leave the nest at around 13 days of age but remain dependent on their parents for another two weeks. After the departure of the fledglings, there is often a second clutch in June or July, especially in Mediterranean regions.

Migration of: The nightingale

In mid-August, the first migratory nightingales start their journey southward, with the last individuals departing a month later. Every year, nightingales migrate to winter in tropical Africa, covering a broad belt that stretches from Senegal to Sudan, including the Gulf of Guinea region.

Distribution of: The nightingale

The nightingale is known to breed from the Iberian Peninsula to southern Great Britain and Denmark. It also nests in North Africa and Asia Minor.

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A final word

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