Birdsong

Song is normally sung only in the breeding season and only by males. It is typically loud, regularly repeated, persistent and often complex.

Sedge warbler

The purpose of birdsong

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

In bird biology the word "birdsong" means any sound delivered in the nesting period, usually by a male bird for the purpose of territorial defence or the attraction of a mate.

Read more

Bird species and their songs

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

There is not just one "song language of birds", but as many as there are species of birds - thousands!

Read more

The dawn chorus

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

The songs of birds are delivered most frequently each day for a period of perhaps 40 minutes after daybreak. This early birdsong is known as the dawn chorus.

Read more

Birds that imitate birdsong

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

Some birds elaborate their songs with sounds from other bird species.

Read more
chaffinch chick

How birds learn their songs

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

Do birds have the instinctive ability to sing and call, or do individuals learn to do so in the course of each individual lifetime? Hand-reared chaffinches might have the answer.

Read more
A canary singing into a microphone which it is holding with its feet.

The Top 10 British birdsongs

Article by:
Jeffery Boswall

For most of us, the songs of birds have an aesthetic appeal. Here are 10 of the best to be heard in Britain.

Read more

Further themes

Beaks, wings and tails

Which birds drum, hum, snap, bleat and clap? And why?

Birdsong

It's the most musical of all nature's sounds, but why do birds sing?

Bird calls

What are bird calls and how do they differ from birdsong?

How birds sing and hear

How do birds learn, produce and experience such complex sounds?

Mimicry and talking birds

Some birds are excellent mimics, but can they really talk to us?