British wildlife recordings
Luscinia megarhynchos : Nightingale - Turdidae
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Teign Valley, Devon: OS Grid Reference(303500,565500)
Nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
The song of the male nightingale, recorded on the Teign Valley, Devon. Despite its nondescript appearance, the nightingale is one of Britain's most celebrated birds and its sublime voice has been immortalised in music and literature. It is also a bird that is much easier to hear than to see, and is famous for its skulking habitat, often choosing the middle of impenetrable scrub from which to deliver its powerful and beautiful song. When seen, it is slightly larger than a robin with a brown coloration and a distinctive rusty-coloured rump and cocked tail. The nightingale's song is only heard for a brief period between April and early June, and consists of a virtuoso performance of liquid trills and repeated phrases, ending in a crescendo. When it first arrives from its central African wintering quarters, it is commonly heard well after dark when other species have ceased singing, but it does also sing during the day. Nightingales can breed in a variety of habitats with large areas of thick scrub that are often situated close to water, but are rarely found north of a line between the Humber and the Severn estuary. Their range has contracted during the 20th century, and recent surveys put the number of singing males at no more than 5,000 to 6,000.