It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in forest in Europe and Asia. The distribution is more southerly than the very closely related Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia. It nests low in dense bushes. It winters in southern Africa.
The Nightingale is similar in size to the European Robin. It is plain brown above except for the red-sided tail with red side patches. It is buff to white below. Sexes are similar.
The male's famous song is loud, with a impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles. The most characteristic feature is a loud whistling crescendo. It has a frog-like alarm call.