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Birds from central Europe eastwards and north to Scandinavia are migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa and in western Europe from Britain southwards, around the Mediterranean and in North Africa. Western and southern birds are resident or partially migratory, incidence of wintering is increasing in Britain and North-West Europe. Most British birds migratory, arriving in April-May and departing August-September with variable but generally small numbers wintering.
Deciduous, mixed and in some areas, coniferous, forest and woodland with tall shrubs, sometimes in scrub with taller trees nearby. Also in parks, large gardens and orchards. In winter occurs in a wide range of habitats with trees and bushes and a frequent visitor to garden birdtables in parts of Europe.
The female builds a cup shaped nest from vegetation and mud, placed in a hedge, bush, or brambles. 4-6 glossy, smooth, pale buff with dark markings eggs are laid. They are incubated by both parents who both feed the young.