Common Nightingale – Luscinia megarynchos


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Muscicapidae
  • Gen: Luscinia
  • Species: Luscinia megarynchos

Identification characters

The body is 16 cm long, brownish and the tail is rusty. It has a very pleasant song.


It is a widespread species in the western Palaearctic. It is found in Europe and northern Africa, southern Russia, as far east as Crimea and the Krasnodar peninsula, Turkey and the Levant, Iran, Turkmenistan and Mongolia. It is a migratory species, with most European populations wintering in eastern central Africa. The European population is between 10,700,000 and 20,300,000 breeding pairs, representing half of the world population of the species. In Romania, the Nightingale is more common in the hilly area of Moldavia, the Transylvanian Depression and in the plains along the lower reaches of the Danube. The breeding population in Romania is estimated at 714,687-1,010,434 pairs and is important at European level.

Living environment and biology of the species

It lives in forests with rich undergrowth, in parks, meadows and scrublands, often near wetlands, but also in drier areas with dense scrub. Very commonly it can be found in man-made habitats such as orchards, gardens and parks in towns. Maximum longevity is eight years and four months. Sexual maturity is reached at the age of one year.

Food consists of adult and larval insects, spiders, snails, other small invertebrates. Fruit and sometimes seeds. Feeds both on the ground and in the foliage. It is a monogamous species, with the nesting season starting in mid-May. The nuptial song is performed mainly by the male, throughout the day, evening and sometimes all night. The song is distinctive, very beautiful and with many intonations, varying depending on finding a female and establishing a pair. The mating season is extremely exhausting for the males, who expend a great deal of energy singing and chasing other suitors out of their own territory.

The nest is set up on the ground or in low vegetation in the undergrowth, no more than 30 cm above the ground, very well camouflaged. It is constructed by the female from various plant materials, such as dry leaves and blades of grass. The eggs consist of 4-6 eggs, hatched by the female for 13-14 days. The eggs are dark blue or blue-green in colour, very finely mottled with reddish-brown. The chicks remain in the nest for 11-12 days until they reach flight age, during which time they are fed by both parents.

Threats and conservation measures

The species may be threatened by habitat alteration, fragmentation and loss, habitat alteration and loss due to agricultural activities or land use change, contamination by agricultural products. Many and varied conservation measures are recommended, such as matching silvicultural work to the biology of the species to avoid disturbance during breeding seasons, maintaining understory in logged forests, maintaining a mosaic of habitats with tree and shrub stands in open agricultural areas, maintaining and enhancing corridors between areas of spontaneous grassland including scattered trees, tree lines and groups of non-productive trees, reducing the use of insecticides and herbicides in agriculture and forestry. Where necessary and in the absence of alternatives, the use of substances with minimal toxicity and persistence should be justified and applied on the breeding grounds of the species only outside the breeding season. Afforestation of bushland areas should be avoided and bush fires should be avoided and penalised. It is recommended to inventory both actual and potential breeding areas.


  • Fântână Ciprian, Kovács Istvan, Benkő Zoltán, Daròczi Szilárd, Domșa Cristian, Veres-Szászka Judit (editors), 2022, Atlas of bird species of community interest in Romania, 2nd edition – Love birds, save nature!, Project financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme 2014-2020, Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests – Biodiversity Directorate, scientific coordination Romanian Ornithological Society and Association for the Protection of Birds and Nature Milvus Group, produced by EXCLUS PROD SRL, p. 402.
    Radu Dimitrie, 1983, Small Ornithological Atlas – Birds of the World, Albatros Publishing House, Bucharest, p. 198.
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