Nightingale singing in a tree


Nightingales are best known for their beautiful vocal abilities. Male birds, especially, sing for hours on end each night during the breeding season. The females select mates based on the quality of this musical performance. Older males have improved mating success due to their larger song repertoire, which can consist of an astonishing 260 variations. Nightingales have declined in Britain in recent years, since grazing roe and muntjac deer have reduced the density of shrubs inhabited by nightingales.

Did you know?
Male nightingales lose weight each night they sing.

All you need to know about British birds.

Scientific name: Luscinia megarhynchos

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common nightingale,
  • Rufous nightingale

Watch video clips from past programmes (5 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Nightingale taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Nightingale can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Nightingale distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Nightingale

  • Habitat change 'depletes birds' The decline in UK nightingale numbers could be due to changes in its habitat along its migratory route to Africa, a study shows.

Elsewhere on the BBC