We usually associate bird song with the daytime, but there are a few different types of birds that can be heard singing during the night.
Apart from owls, all other nocturnal singers are migratory birds most commonly heard during the spring and summer months. This includes corncrakes, nightjars and nightingales. There are also reed warblers and sedge warblers that are truly nocturnal and will extensively sing throughout the night.
British birds that sing at night in the UK are as follows:
All types of birds are governed by the daily rhythm of light and dark, and just as first light triggers song in some birds, low light can have the same effect. This usually means birds can continue to sing when it's completely dark, basically because they've just carried on from when the light was already low.
This is certainly the behaviour that happens from time to time with dunnocks, song thrushes and many other bird species. As already crowned the best daytime singers, the robin still stands on top of the podium for night time singing.
Robins are extremely well equipped to forage in dim lighting and any artificial light during the nights. They can easily be triggered into a full song, whatever the hour, by things like street lights or floodlights. As some of these birds maintain their territories all year round, it can often occur throughout the year.
The undisputed day and night time singer, the robin.
Light isn't the only factor that makes birds sing at night. It's also thought that loud, sudden noises like thunder and fireworks can suddenly awake birds, making them burst into song.
It's also thought that other nocturnal birds' song can trigger robins to start singing, particularly the distantly related nightingale.
There have been many reports of nightingales singing at all hours during the winter, which have actually turned out to be robins!
Across the country, the Robin is the most common bird to sing during the night time.
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