Luscinia megarhynchos


A shy bird, about the same size as a robin, the nightingale is a summer visitor, arriving here in April and leaving in September. Nightingales nest in dense scrub, from where they famously sing their beautiful melodies throughout the day and at night.

How to identify

Nightingales are best recognised by their song. If spotted, they are a robust, broad-tailed, plain brown bird without the streaks of the dunnock or the red-breast of the robin. They are perhaps most similar to a female redstart but without the orange-red tail.

Where to find it

Found in south-east England, south of a line drawn from the Wash to the Severn.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Localised in their British distribution, nightingales are under threat from habitats loss and fragmentation. The Wildlife Trusts manage woodland nature reserves sympathetically for this, and other, rare bird species. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for The Wildlife Trusts and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about birds.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Luscinia megarhynchos
Thrushes, chats, flycatchers, starling, dipper and wren
Length: 17cm Wingspan: 24cm Weight: 21g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.