BTO Bird ID – Nightingale and Other Night Singers

BTO Bird ID – Nightingale and Other Night Singers

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[Bird songs] Nightingale is famous for singing at night.
Many people believe that any bird singing sweetly during darkness is a Nightingale However this identification will show that not
all are Nightingales In fact, sadly, very few these days are.
Firstly it is important to know that many birds will sing at night,
especially during spring and summer but by far the most habitual and common songsters
are Robin, Blackbird, Songthrush and Nightingale and we will consider each of these in turn [Bird songs] Robin is the bird most likely to be heard
singing at night especially in human habitats
such as towns and villages The Robin sings all year and can often
be the first to greet the New Year being heard in the small hours of 1st
January especially where there are street lights and
other artificial lighting The Spring and Summer breeding song must be
the most familiar of British birds songs It is sweet and complex. The birds sing
varying verses and rarely repeat a theme The verses are quite short just a few seconds
long with measured pauses between them They consist of rippling phrases and longer
drawn out wavering notes but the most distinctive feature is that the
song is confident, beautiful and very melodic and yet lacks depth and fluteness.
Gives an overall wistful impression even more so in Autumn and Winter when
the song can be described as melancholy [Bird song] [Bird song] Blackbird on the other hand does
have a very rich song Of the four species covered here this is
the least likely to sing throughout the night although they do habitually sing into the
late evening and like Robin, Blackbird can be heard
on occassion at night when other noise distractions are not present. At this time
when the bird has the stage to itself any of them can appear to the listener to
be a stronger singer than during daylight hours Blackbirds sing throughout the year, although
far less commonly in late summer through to Winter. Their song is one of the
most beautiful of all UK bird songs powerful and melodic and with the depth and
richness that is most noticeable at close quarters Blackbirds often sing above the noise of
traffic in towns and cities The phrases sound very well rehearsed and
are delivered with confidence Each phrase lasts a few seconds and
then there is a very brief pause before the next phrase. Despite the volume
that Blackbirds sing at the voice does not carry as well
as Song Thrush or Nightingale but in the quietness of the night
Blackbird song can easily be picked out and from any distance the song has
a melancholy thoughtful ring to it [Bird song] [Bird song] Song Thrush have the most immediately
identifiable song of the four birds and we have already covered this species in our
Song Thrush/Mistle Thrush ID video But the key points of Song Thrush song
are its repeating nature almost as if the bird likes the phrase
(and the distance it can carry) and so repeats it a couple more times
before moving on to the next one During the breeding season, Song Thrushes
are prone to nightime singing especially in June and July when they can
either sing right through the night or start up a couple of hours before dawn
– usually about 1 or 2 am. [Bird Song] [Bird Song] Finally we come to the most famous of
all the nighttime singers, the Nightingale Their song is amazingly rich and powerful with
a bubbling exhuberance to it that both Robin and Blackbird lack.
It habitually sings through the night but it does also sing during the day. Strong
measured, whistling, phrases interspersed with rapid warbling and sometimes even more
scratchy elements A characteristic, and in such a beautiful song,
an incongruous phrase, is a harsh “jug jug jug jug” and this is distinctive
to Nightingale [Bird song] The liquid bubbling and the harmonic qualities
are also unique in the UK to this species Birds sing from arrival usually in late April
through to about early June and so are actually in song for a very short
period of the year As we can see, if you hear a bird singing
at night it is not necessarily a Nightingale In fact, by far the most likely
species to be heard at night is Robin Sadly, Nightingales are in steep decline, occuring
regularly only in the South and East of England They are mostly found in scrub and coppice
woodland and unless you were at a nature reserve or known Nightingale site, you have
to accept that the bird you can hear is probably not a Nightingale.
The famous Nightingale heard in Berkley Square was almost certainly a Robin! [Bird songs]

78 thoughts on “BTO Bird ID – Nightingale and Other Night Singers

  • LifeIsBlue Post author

    Don't blackbirds only sing when they are nesting? I've never heard them sing between the end of summer and the beginning of spring… such a long time to wait for that lovely birdsong 🙁

  • Gila Atwood Post author

    once heard a wren singing at 3 am by Boulevard de Nantes, middle of Cardiff, behind the New theatre. Blackbirds have been singing regularly for the last couple of weeks here in Jerusalem, over the winter solstice, (mainly late afternoon)

  • Gila Atwood Post author

    btw have heard nightingales occasionally sing in the valley (north Jerusalem, source of Porat which runs down to Jericho) .. when they do, it's generally June.

  • armpitfuzz Post author

    You have to wonder what they are saying !

  • Lydia Stevenson Post author

    I'm no expert but I know a Robin and yesterday for the first time in my life I heard and eye balled a Nightingale in a central London Park… Totally different to a robin… Embankment park to be precise. His tail straight up and proud and head pulled back almost to meat it and beak wide open he looked like he was using his whole tiny body as a musical instrument… it was magical.

  • Lydia Stevenson Post author

    in the UK (I'm from London) the blackbird sings every morning and is the first of all the birds in the dawn chorus…

  • BTOvideo Post author

    That's great Lydia, a good spot. You can use BirdTrack to record your sightings and make them count. There is a link to Birdtrack from the BTO website homepage.

  • James Watson Post author

    I heard a nightingale recently in a heavily wooded area during the day definitely practicing his song. i could tell it was a nightingale by that unique ticking noise and drawn out notes it does. they are truly lovely birds to hear. if you're on a walk and you hear one the song is so crystal clear and loud for a bird of it's size it just stops you.

  • Arnaud Da Silva Post author

    Indeed you are right. They commence singing in end of February, singing earlier and earlier as the season progresses. They sing less from late May / June, when breeding season comes to the end. In winter, you can hear them occasionnally on warm and sunny days, i.e. rarely.

  • Ros Harper Post author

    very helpful video, thank you

  • MyAlterEgoHere Post author

    I hear them a lot these days, which is what started my search to uncover which bird species was chirping so loudly. I appreciate the different chirping sounds in the video. It helped me know which bird I'm hearing, and it's definitely the nightingale. I'm relieved because I had wondered if the bird was chirping at night because it was upset.

  • Silver Fox Post author

    We live near Bath and have heard a nightingale – and seen it – every night for the past week or so. (It's now the end of June). We've heard it before, but not every year, and feel very fortunate!

  • Joan Davidson Post author

    Very helpful, thank you. I live in the north east, close to a wooded area and overlooking fields – I've heard and seen robins, blackbirds, song thrushes and as I now know, heard a nightingale (often drowned out by our resident pheasant claiming his territory!)

  • Cris Spark Post author

    I'm always listening to birds and started hearing an unusual song the past couple of weeks early in the mornings. I searched through the RSPB site and could not find one that matched the really unusual and powerful song, until I came across the nightingale recording. It was a perfect match! I was so happy, have being wanting to hear them for a long time, and living in a town in south London didn't think would happen. It is just beautiful!!

  • BeltaineRose Post author

    It's the early hours of the morning 2 a.m jan 3rd West Cork Ireland I'm sitting at my table listening to what I believe is a robin singing it's little heart out ,very unusual ..1st time in my 17yrs living here I've heard a bird singing at this late hour so I googled it and was led to this vid.x

  • Rob K Post author

    Here in the states, Western Pennsylvania, I have a Mocking Bird driving me crazy with his repertoire that he repeats all night long.

  • Mz. Love Post author

    Well i done found the culprit chriping away at night behind my house in the weeee hours of the night its the blackbird and the video is very accurate

  • 99 Red Balloons ? Post author

    very in depth analysis of the bird sounds thank you

  • Lynne Perkins Post author

    When I was growing up in northern California, there was a near-permanent resident just outside my window. All summer long, the Mockingbird sang sweetly to my sister and me through our open window. He lived in the great creek below us, but preferred to sing from the hights of the peach tree by our window up the cliff. Year after year, from the time that the naked lady lilies bloomed against our bedroom wall until mid-summer's fogs drove him away, he sang to us. It was magical, a magical way to grow up. To think of his passing into history breaks my heart, and so I can well imagine Britain's pain at losing her little nightingale.

  • anto jurik Post author

    sikatan londo kl di indo…..cuma susah sekali dapatnya.

  • BabyBBB01 Post author

    These birds are rare in the united states only in Asian

  • Nona Gina Post author

    Sounds just like an EXTREMELY LOUD car alarm, all the way down to the 4 beeps (as if turning thealarm off)!!! I'm located in Southern California (I've seen & heard them during the day, and they are black with a yellow beak) Could they be black birds? There are 2 of them (a few city blocks from one another) singing all night long, seems as if they are trying to out Chirp eachother! I love the melancholy chirps of birds…BUT SORRY TO SAY THAT THIS NIGHTLY NOISE IS NOT MELANCHOLY!!!

  • Nona Gina Post author

    Thank you.? That's what I was thinking.

  • Josephine Tyree Post author

    Good video ..explaining each bird…but for the last 5 nights….I've heard a bird singing continually from 9pm …till about 1 am….and it is not any of the ones described… Hummm

  • Toolmaker Post author

    I'm in NJ, I can tell you for certain there is a Nightingale outside my house. A very strong bubbly chirping Twelve midnight gives this bird away.

  • InandaroundTO Post author

    I lived in Kent for eight years as a kid (4-12yo). Got hearing aids when I was 4 and started hearing birds singing outside my bedroom. Hadn't heard birds at night before. I remember listening and each night started trying to commit those sounds to memory in case someday I couldn't hear them anymore. Didn't occur to me I was hearing a nightingale because those are rare. I mostly recognize the Robin but I'm absolutely certain I've heard that nightingale as well! I don't recognize the blackbird song at all. And I'm not sure about the thrush.

    Still, it's really nice to find out what birds I was listening to. It was a big moment in my childhood.

  • Avebury Eddie Post author

    We had Nightingales calling wonderfully all night in Brandon Suffolk 🙂

  • MariLove Post author

    its 2 am now the bird i keep hearing starts like at 12 am its the second night now it kind of sounds like a car alarm and it switches off to regular bubbly chirping its very loud though i thought it sounded very similar to the nightingale in this video im in south california though is that possible i could have heard a nightingale?

  • Shakira Arellano Post author

    late at night i usually hear nearby birds flying by and they have high pitched rhythmic chirps.. they never stay for long theyre always just passing by. and it's never one single bird it's always multiple

  • James Spingola Post author

    The UK Songthrush is very similar to the American Robin in both appearence and song.

  • Skeletorrential Downpour Post author

    i am in texas, but i am pretty sure we have our fair share of nightingales around my apartment (as there is a breed native to this portion of the us). when i tried to verify years ago, i ended up stumbling across conspiracy theorists who refused to believe that there are bird species who sing at night and instead chose to blame 'chemtrails' and 'government conspiracy'. x-x

  • Becks Massie Post author

    I live in Kent, and for the first time ever I've been listening to a nightingale every night this week. I have recorded it too. It is exactly the same as the nightingale song in your clip.

  • Kim Adkins Post author

    I'm sat in my bedroom with the window open at 23:30 and a Nightingale is singing it's song in the tree outside my window.
    such a beautiful sound to fall asleep to.

  • n.k. Cannon Post author

    Living in Eastern North Carolina, there is a bird that happily sings all night. And with many various songs

  • Cwise85 Post author

    it's 2:15AM here where I'm at and finally I perfectly understand what the birds are saying: "shotgun blast my ass out of the tree so you can finally sleep"

  • Mary Musclow Post author


  • محبي الطيور المغردة Post author

    i like !

  • Shadowfores14 Post author

    There's a bird at 10pm right now

  • محبي الطيور المغردة Post author

    Good !

  • Hoho Post author

    Not sure why it's almost 2 am and there's bunch of birds singing like second hour already it's really odd. Uk winter

  • Lindy Smith Post author

    Thankyou, i was able to identify the songthrush at night.
    I would add that many of the pauses by blackbird are to listen to their nearest neighbouring blackbird’s reply.
    So possibly also the case with many songbirds pauses.

  • Linda Brown Post author

    i am looking for a nite singing bird i live in kansas i hear them early before daylite n jusy after sundown

  • Saluran TV Burung Online Post author

    i like it

  • Billy Haylock Post author

    If anyone sees this can u help me I've been trying to sleep and there is what I think is some sort of bird outside my bedroom window and it's making many different sounds some sounding like a seagull

  • Yagami Light Post author

    Video sucks

  • Naomi Caldwell Post author

    Living in TN and there are currently 2 birds outside singing their little hearts out. It started around 11:30pm. It's currently 4:25am and these birds show no signs of stopping. It was tolerable for an hour or so, but almost 5 hours later, I'm over it. In fact, I need earplugs. Since I can't sleep, I figured I'd look into the culprits who are keeping me awake. Alas, here I am!

  • joe grimes Post author

    Live in the Midlands, Derby region, Blackbirds strongly remind me of calling home time when I was a kid. The sun was low and I'd be out on my bike. That croaky warble would follow me home 🙂

  • Big Perm Post author

    We have a bird that makes the same loud chirp over and over again.

  • Roberto Maldonado Post author

    I live in Connecticut (USA). It’s May and I have a nitinggale singing in the back yard. I’ve lived here for 5 years, always sleep with my window open once the weather allows it and never have I heard birds chirping at night, til now. Lol. I have to look up what birds sing at night, so I googled it and saw this video. Definitely a nitinggale no it’s beautiful lol

  • Dennis Post author

    Will someone tell that lady to shut the fuck up?

  • robmorgan1989 Post author

    Okay at song trush what is the faint bird song in background. I always thought it was an owl. Please help been annoying me for ages.

  • Dee Espn Post author

    I swear the night and gale sing in my back yard the singing is identical

  • Enki Post author


  • Zixen Vernon Post author

    Omg it was a black bird! Right next my house since 1 AM it's 5AM and I have to get up now!!

  • Rick Wilson Post author

    W for 69

  • M Stephens Post author

    Are Nightingales in the mid-Atlantic/Northeastern USA? I believe that’s what I am hearing after midnight. It has a distinctive melody of five short trips followed by a pause and then usually another five short chirps And then it breaks out into a more sustained recognizable Melody. Does that sound typical of the Nightingale? Thank you.

  • M Stephens Post author

    Do you know of anyway I can record the bird songs I hear that night after midnight so that others can possibly identify them? If you or someone could please let me know or provide me with A link to upload these beautiful songs, I would greatly appreciate learning more about our feathered friends.

  • utku the annoying retard Post author

    i've been hearing a birdcall for a long time and i dont know if it even is a bird
    the call has a distinct "che che che che" sound, continuously before stopping for a second

  • cuteg Post author

    Yep it's a robin chirping at 10pm in Sydney

  • NejiHina100 Post author

    I am here because i have to figure out which is the bird that is keeping me up at 3 fucking am. First time hearing it too

  • Broderick Elliott Post author

    Late February in Upstate New York (North of the Adirondack region). A few different nights now I've been outside feeding the animals or getting home late from work to hear a sort of trilling coo. None of the birds in this video, apparently. (I knew the European Robin was out of the question, but I'm uncertain about the extent of the ranges of the others.)

  • scott splan Post author

    It looks like there are a lot of birds that sing through the night in Brittan. I'm in Texas trying to identify the birds singing at night here.

  • Harold R. Post author

    Lost me at "…due to it's…"  instead of the correct "due to its…"You're welcome, Grammar Police Inc.

  • e harris Post author

    Stfu and let the birds sing ,

  • Average Misfit Post author

    Robins are cute but sooo..fucking annoying..

  • Henz Carl Tupas [email protected] Post author

    ? Sing sweet nighttingale, sing sweet nightingale Ahhhhaaaaaaaaaaa ??????

  • jayqwan1987 Post author

    The skeleton key

  • Alter Ego Post author

    Whatever the lady was saying could have been given in the description and /or as sub-titles. Her voice and accent are crude and when she said 'jug-jug-jug-jug', it hurt the ears. Beautiful birds, though!

  • Dianna Skare Post author

    We live in northwestern Montana and I am thinking it is a Nightingale because I have been hearing them every night for the last 3 weeks and they are just like the recording!

  • Jytte's Trail Camera Post author

    How is one supposed to hear the singing with so much talking? Really annoying.

  • opprobriousness Post author

    I definitely have very loud and active Nightingale right outside my window here in suburban Los Angeles. Starts around midnight and sings til the sun comes up.

  • Turtletrix Muffin Post author

    I got so scared cause I heard a bird outside at 1:00am

  • Lisa Bianconi Post author

    All of these beasts have moved into a tree right outside our window. They need to form a band and go on tour.

  • Rainkomorebi Post author

    Its 4 in the morning and this bird is loudly singing outside my, window i havent slept in a week…

  • Lucy Manette Post author

    Very annoying that narrators talks during birds singing.

  • Myth Master Post author

    5:08 They won't stop shooting me with laser guns!

  • Summer Plays Post author

    There's a weird bird noise for me right now at 12:21 and it sounds like a scream but a bird scream I'm scared it's not even a bird???

  • Amethyst Flitzerox Post author

    in texas, there are birds everywhere outside and i all hear is a downwards octave that pauses and continues. Anyone know what this bird is?

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