Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)


Nightingale Finch (Nesospiza questi)


French: Nésospize du Quest German: Spitzschnabel-Ammertangare Spanish: Yal de la Nightingale

Nesospiza acunhae questi


, 1923,

Nightingale Island, Tristan da Cunha Group


Usually considered conspecific with small-billed races (nominate and fraseri) of N. acunhae of Inaccessible I, but see below. Cytochrome b sequence of present species appears identical to that of N. wilkinsi, but the two are highly distinct morphologically and behave as separate species, with separate vocal systems and no evidence of hybridization between them; treatment of present species as subspecies of N. acunhae#R incompatible with genetic evidence of independent evolution on each island. Monotypic.


Nightingale I, including offshore islets of Alex (Middle) and Stoltenhoff, in S Atlantic.

Descriptive notes

16–18 cm; 24–29 g. Male has face and lores pale grey, rest of head and upperparts yellow-olive, finely streaked dark brown (mainly on crown and mantle); flight-... read more


Male advertises territory with high-pitched, sharp song, “whit-wheu whit-wheu...”... read more


Throughout Nightingale and adjacent islets, from rocky shoreline to highest peaks. Most abundant in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly seeds and berries; also some invertebrates. Forages on plants and on the ground.


Little known. Breeds in Nov–Jan. Nest an open cup, built low down among dense vegetation, usually sedges (Cyperaceae) or grasses,... read more


Presumably resident.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Tristan Islands EBA. Abundant; global range tiny, c. 4 km². Total population estimated at no more than c. 5000 pairs, of... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2020). Nightingale Finch (Nesospiza questi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 January 2020).