Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 3,780,000-6,360,000 pairs, which equates to 7,550,000-12,700,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.60% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 12,600,000-21,200,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2013 was stable (EBCC 2015).


This species occupies lowland river valleys with deciduous and mixed woodland bordering waterbodies, beech (Fagus) and hornbeam (Carpinus) forest, small woodlots of young deciduous trees, dense thickets in forest edges, regenerating forest on clear-cut land, wet willow (Salix) thickets, alder (Alnus) carrs, lowland orchards, river gorges, urban scrub, parks and cemeteries. It requires deep soft humus with some leaf litter, tall, dense, patchy herbage, and thickets of brambles, bushes, shrubs and low trees typically along riverbanks, near standing water or in damp depressions. In African wintering range it uses damp rank vegetation, overgrown streamsides, thick hedges of Euphorbia and Lantana, woodland undergrowth and thickets at 500-1,500 m. Breeding occurs from mid-May to early July. The nest is a loose bulky cup of leaves and grass, lined with fine stems and hair, placed on ground in sheltered position among dead branches, roots or thick leaf litter. Clutches are four or five eggs. The diet is mainly invertebrates with some fruit. The species is migratory, wintering in Africa (Collar 2015).


Population fluctuations appear to correlate with changes in habitat composition and climate amelioration. During the 1900s, numbers fell with the decline of slash-and-burn cultivation which produced its preferred young deciduous woodlands (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed

No conservation measures are currently needed for this species within Europe.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Luscinia luscinia. Downloaded from on 29/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/11/2023.