Nightingale Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchosLength: 16-17 cm
Status: Breeding summer visitor Wingspan: 25 cm
Breeding pairs: 6,700 males Weight: 16-40 g
Wintering birds:
Conservation status: Red

Description: Adult nightingales have plain brown upperparts with a rust coloured rump and tail. Their underparts are pale buff with a sandy breast and flank.

Nightingales’ heads are rusty brown and they have a white chin and throat. Their eyes are dark brown surrounded by a white ring and they have a black bill. Legs and feet are brown.

Juvenile nightingales are pale brown with buff spotting. Their bills, feet and legs are paler than the adults.

Nesting: Nightingales build their nests near the ground will camouflaged amongst leaves. The cup-shaped nest is made from dead leaves and grass lined with finer grass, feathers and hair.

Nightingales lay 4-5 olive green eggs that are incubated by the female for 13-14 days during which time she is fed by the male.

Nesting lasts about 10-12 days and chicks can fly 3-5 days later. Parent nightingales will feed them for another 2-4 weeks after which the female will lay a second clutch of eggs.

Feeding: Nightingales eat invertebrates such as beetles, ants, flies, worms and spiders. They will also supplement their diet with seeds and berries in the autumn.

Where to see them: Nightingales can be found mainly in the south and east of the UK and breed mostly south of the Severn-Wash line.

They arrive in April and depart from July until September.

Credit: Frank Lambert

Did you know? It is very unlikely that a nightingale has ever sung in Berkeley Square; the habitat is wrong and there are few records of nightingales in inner London.

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