Agesilaus being invited once to hear a man who admirably imitated the nightingale, he declined, saying he had heard the nightingale itself. Plutarch Life of Agesilaus II.
Nightingale ( Luscinia megarhynchos)
The Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It, and similar small European species, are often called chats.
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, at 15-16.5 cm length. 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 Nightingale is known for his singing, to the extent that human singers are sometimes admiringly referred to as nightingales; the birdsong is loud, with an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles. Although it also sings during the day, the nightingale is unusual in singing late in the evening; its song is particularly noticeable at that time because few other birds are singing. This is why its name (in several languages) includes "night". Recent research has shown that the birds sing even more loudly in urban or near-urban environments, in order to overcome the background noise. The most characteristic feature of the song is a loud whistling crescendo. It has a frog-like alarm call.
Eastern races have paler upperparts and a stronger face-pattern, including a pale supercilium.
The Nightingale (aêdôn) appears in Aristophanes' The Birds
In Greek mythology, Aedon, daughter of Pandareus, was the wife of Zethus. The pair had one daughter, Itylus. Aedon accidentally killed her and was stricken with grief and guilt. In pity, the gods turned her into a nightingale, which cries with sadness every night. Alternatively, she was the queen of Thebes, who attempted to kill the son of her rival, Niobe, also her sister-in-law, and accidentally killed her own daughter instead and thus, the gods again changed her into a nightingale.
What else can I that am old and lame do but sing to God? Were I a nightingale, I should do after the manner of a nightingale. Were I a swan, I should do after the manner of a swan. But now, since I am a reasonable being, I must sing to God: that is my work: I do it, nor will I desert this my post, as long as it is granted me to hold it; and upon you too I call to join in this self-same hymn. The Golden Sayings of Epictetus
Just as Pandareus' daughter,