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Tips For Finding And Photographing The Thrush Nightingale

Here are some top tips for photographing the thrush nightingale.

| Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife

Tips For Finding And Photographing The Thrush Nightingale: thrush nightingale

The thrush nightingale may not have the most colourful plumage but its beautiful singing certainly makes up for it. Read on to learn more about the common nightingale’s eastern cousin.


The thrush nightingale, also known as the sprosser, is very similar in appearance to the common nightingale; inconspicuously coloured with a reddish-brown back and a white underside. However, it has a greyer tone compared to the common nightingale. The sprosser’s breast and the sides of its throat are also mottled with brown, the tail is reddish brown. Males and females hardly differ from each other.


Distribution and habitat

While the common nightingale depends on mild temperatures, the sprosser is more common in north-eastern Europe. It breeds in Northeast Germany, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Southern Russia.

During the breeding season, sprossers prefer river valleys and other humid areas. They also like to colonize smaller forests and field shrubs when food and nesting places are sufficient.

As long-distance migrants, sprossers spend the winter in eastern Africa, south of the Sahara.


Behaviour and interesting facts

The thrush nightingale has as much singing talent as its cousin the common nightingale. The male has a very powerful song which can be audible from up to one kilometre. As its name implies (nightingale means “night songstress” in old English) the thrush nightingale like to sing at night. The varied and very melodic verses are usually separated by short pauses.

The sprosser mainly feeds on insects as well as spiders, centipedes and earthworms. It usually searches the ground for food and will more rarely catch an insect from a branch or in the air.

From the beginning to the middle of May, the males arrive first in the breeding areas to occupy their territories. About a week later, the females arrive and are courted by the loudly singing males. Besides singing, the male often performs a kind of dance. It circles around the female with hanging wings and tail dragging on the ground. Once a pair has found each other, they look for a good nesting place together. This is usually on the ground, well camouflaged in a bed of nettles or other plants. After laying the eggs, the female incubates them for about two weeks. After hatching, the young spend another two weeks in the nest until they embark on their first exploration tour.

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