RSPB
Skip navigation
Join the RSPB

Help us give nature a home from £3 a month.

Conservation status: Amber

Nightingales are slightly larger than robins, with a robust, broad-tailed, rather plain brown appearance. They are skulking and extremely local in their distribution in the UK while in much of southern Europe, they are common and more easily seen. The famous song is indeed of high quality, with a fast succession of high, low and rich notes that few other species can match.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Luscinia megarhynchos

Family

Chats and thrushes (Turdidae)

Where to see them

A secretive bird which likes nothing better than hiding in the middle of an impenetrable bush or thicket. In the UK they breed mostly south of the Severn-Wash line and east from Dorset to Kent. The highest densities are found in the south east: Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.

When to see them

They arrive in April and sing until late May and early June. They leave again from July to September. They can be heard singing throughout the day, as well as at night.

What they eat

Insects

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-6,700 males--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Mathias Ritschard, Xeno-canto

Similar birds