How to identify nightingales

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How to identify nightingales

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Nightingales, as physically unremarkable as they are, have been the poets bird of choice for centuries. As the national bird of Iran and Bandladesh, this bird has been praised the world over, such as in Keats poem, Ode to a Nightingale. To spot these small creatures requires not just your eyes, but perhaps, more importantly, your ears.


Step One

The nightingale, also known as Luscinia megarhynchos, or Common Nightingale, can be found throughout the world, depending on the time of year. They enjoy their breeding ground from southeast England through to southern Europe and even into central Asia. They winter, however, south of the Sahara.


Step Two

Nightingales tend to prefer low-lying, dense woodland during the spring. In winter, they can be found in dry, bushy savanna. They generally feed close to the ground on invertebrates and berries. When not mating, they are usually found alone.


Step Three

Nightingales come in fairly unremarkable colors. Both sexes are a plain brown, save for a tail that appears reddish on top and grayish-white below. The nightingale reaches heights of about 6-6.5 inches, which makes it slightly larger than the European Robin.


Step Four

The nightingale, as per its name, sings at night. This loud song, which features an impressive amount of variety, is sung by unpaired males. Their song is often heard just before dawn, as well, in order to defend its territory. They actually do sing when the sun is up, but their songs are often lost in the din of the day.


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