The nightingale is a songbird. It is found in Europe, North Africa and Asia. They were brought to Australia by settlers from Europe. The nightingale is best known for its unique song. Many poets have written about it. Musicians have composed music reminiscent of nightingale song.
Nightingales are small, they are about as small as a house sparrow, which is also called a "sparrow". Their plumage is brown, the back a little reddish, the belly and breast are rather light grey. They prefer to eat worms, caterpillars and larvae. But spiders and similar small animals are also on their menu.
Among nightingales, only the males sing, and in many different ways: they sometimes know over 200 different short melodies, which they string together. In spring, the males sing to attract a female. So if you are not as sound asleep in the morning, you can be woken up by their song. Many people find this very pleasant.
The female nightingale builds her nest 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 incubation. Their brown plumage then serves as 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 away from their territory. After about two weeks, the young have already fledged. However, the parents continue to look after them for about two weeks.
Nightingales are losing more and more breeding sites because people are building too much on the land. But they are not endangered. There are just under 100,000 breeding pairs in Germany and about 2,000 pairs in Switzerland. In Europe, nightingales are migratory birds because the winter is too cold for them here. They therefore fly to Africa every autumn and return in spring.