Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

TAXONOMY

Luscinia megarhynchos C. L. Brehm, 1831. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Common nightingale; French: Rossignol philomele; German: Nachtigall; Spanish: Ruiseñor Común.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.5 in (16.5 cm); male 0.6-0.8 oz (17-23 g); female 0.6-0.85 oz (17-24 g). Brown upperparts, gray-buff underparts (throat paler), rusty-red rump and tail.

DISTRIBUTION

Breeds southeast England eastwards through central and southern Europe, into central Asia; locally North Africa. Winters in Africa south of Sahara.

HABITAT

Low, dense thickets, woodland, bushes beside heaths. In winter, bushy, dry savanna.

BEHAVIOR

Skulking, feeds on or near ground, sings from hidden perch, sometimes more open on bush or tree; territorial, solitary.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Eats beetles, ants, other invertebrates, some berries in summer; insectivorous in winter.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous; nest on or near ground. Lays four to five eggs April-June, incubation 13 days, fledging 11 days; one or two broods.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, though declining in north and west of range, secure in south and east.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Exceptional song greatly revered but actually less well known than may be suspected; frequent allusions in literature, poetry and music. ♦

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