The Common Nightingale is slightly larger than the European Robin, at 15-16.5 cm (5.9-6.5 in) length. It is plain brown above except for the reddish tail. It is buff to white below. Sexes are similar. The eastern subspecies L. m. hafizi and L. m. africana have paler upperparts and a stronger face-pattern, including a pale supercilium. The song of the Nightingale has been described as one of the most beautiful sounds in nature.

Habitat and Distribution

It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in forest and scrub in Europe and south-west Asia, but is not found naturally in the Americas. The distribution is more southerly than the very closely related Thrush Nightingale. They also occur in Rhineland (Germany), wintering in southern Africa.


The common nightingale is omnivorous its diet is a mixture of fruits, seeds, nuts and insects.


It nests on the ground within or next to dense bushes.

Calls and Songs

The song is loud, with an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles sung by the male and particularly noticeable at night. It has a frog-like alarm call. They also sing in urban areas a loud whistling crescendo.