The Nightingale is a songbird. They are found in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They brought settlers from Europe to Australia. The nightingale is best known for its unique song. Many poets have written about it. Musicians have composed music reminiscent of the song of nightingales.
Nightingales are small, about the size of a house sparrow, also known as a “sparrow”. Their plumage is brown, the back is somewhat reddish, and the abdomen and chest are slightly gray. They prefer to eat worms, caterpillars, and larvae. But spiders and similar small animals are also on their menu.
Only the males of the nightingales sing, and in many different ways: They sometimes know over 200 different short melodies that they link together. In spring, males sing to attract a female. If you don’t sleep that deeply in the morning, you can be woken up by their singing. Many people find that very pleasant.
The female nightingales build their nests alone on the ground. After mating, the female lays four to six eggs. In Europe, this only happens once a year between April and June. The females also take care of the incubation. Their brown plumage is then used for camouflage.
The female has to incubate the eggs for about two weeks. The male also helps with feeding. During the breeding season, the males sing again, even during the day. They probably want to drive other males out of their territory. After almost two weeks, the young have already flown. However, the parents continue to look after them for about two weeks.
The nightingales are losing more and more breeding places because people are over-cultivating the land. But they are not endangered. There are almost 100,000 breeding pairs in Germany and around 2,000 pairs in Switzerland. In Europe, the nightingales are migratory birds because the winter is too cold for them here. So they fly to Africa every fall and come back in spring.