Traditionally, the NIGHTINGALE is made of clay and is closely linked with the pottery industry of “Barcelos”. However, it is also found in Trás-os-Montes and the Beiras. One of the most curious aspects of this instrument is its appearance at the Lisbon City festivities held in June, where it is found on sale at night-time markets, together with the traditional sweet-smelling “manjericos” (basil plants sold in small pots). It is also known as the WATER WHISTLE, and the instrument was, and still is, painted in bright colours. As it contains water inside, the sound produced by the whistle causes the water to shake, modulating the note and recalling the warbling of a bird.




A plastic bottle with a screw-on the top, a plastic (PVC) tube and a small cork.




A dovetail saw, a penknife and some sandpaper (Nº. 150).




If you’ve already made your Piston Flute, you’re going to find it very easy to make this whistle from a plastic tube. The length of this tube depends on the height of the bottle. However, it’s best to have the general idea that there must be at least 5 cm of tube sticking out from the cork and that the other end must be roughly 1 cm from the bottom. The bottle has to have a small hole made in it, about 1 cm in diameter, next to the neck, so that the air can come out when you blow. If you pour water into the bottle up to a height of 5 cm, when you blow into the whistle, you’ll hear a sound that is very similar to that of a bird chirping. When you make a hole in the cork with your penknife, so that the whistle can be fitted in, you have to take care to do this as dose to the tube as possible. The air will escape through this gap and the whistling sound won’t be 50 pretty.




Traditionally the NIGHTINGALE was painted in bright colours, such as yellow, green and red, but I’m sure that you will look after your NIGHTINGALE very carefully. You know, it’s not very nice to be unkind to animals. There are some grown-ups that abandon their dogs and cats, just because they want to have a holiday without having to take care of them.




It’s easy enough to make a noise with your Nightingale, but the real skill is in imitating a good chirp. And it’s all down to the way you blow into the tube. When you’re out walking with your parents or friends, pay attention to the sounds that you can hear all around you and you’ll soon make out the sound of a bird chirping. If your outing involves a picnic as well, don’t forget to take your litter home.