• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Common Nightingale - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Rufous Nightingale; Western Nightingale

Photo by Nigel Blake
Little Paxton, Cambridgeshire, May 2006
Luscinia megarhynchos

Identification

A grey-brown chat (16 - 17cm)

  • Warm brown above
  • Rusty-brown tail and rump
  • Whitish below with sandy-buff breast and flanks
  • Prominent large black eye with pale narrow eyering
  • Indistinctive grey supercilium

Similar Species

The warm colour and the rusty-red tail are good fieldmarks to distinguish from the similar Thrush Nightingale3. However both species are easily told apart by song.

Distribution

Breeds in southern England and from Iberia and France east to central Poland, Hungary, the Balkans and Greece, also in the Ukraine, Caucasus and northern Turkey, and parts of the Middle East. Breeds on most larger Mediterranean islands and the coastal strip of North-West Africa. First breeding for Malta was in 1995.
The breeding range extends outside Europe into Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and Afghanistan2.
Migratory, leaving breeding areas in late July-early October and passing through the southern half of the Region to winter in sub-Saharan Africa and returning from early April-mid May.

Photo by AJDH
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, June 2010

Vagrant to Iceland and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nepal.

Taxonomy

Like all species of the genus Luscinia it was formerly placed in the thrush Familiy Turdidae.

Subspecies

Clements1 accepts three subspecies:

The races differ only slightly in colour and size. They are not always separable.

Habitat

The habitat is varying through the range of this species. In W and N Europe it prefers open woodland with thickets, usually near water. In S Europe also dry maquis, edges of broadleaf forest without water or pinewoods with rich undergrowth are taken.2

Behaviour

Juvenile, subspecies megarhynchos
Photo © by bievreJJ
Sillans, Plaine de Bièvre, Isère, France, 19 July 2020

Diet

The diet includes insects.

Vocalisation

The male sings at night.

Listen in an external program

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and D Christie, eds. 2005. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 10: Cuckoo-Shrikes to Thrushes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334726
  3. Jonsson, L. 1992. Birds of Europe. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-5238-1

External Links


Top