With the start of the breeding season underway, the British countryside is full of bird song comprising both resident species and newly-arrived migrants.

Yellowhammer - Emberiza citrinellaAbove: Yellowhammers have been singing in the hedgerows for the past few weeks and the male’s distinctive, wheezy song is sometimes described as ‘a little bit of bread and no cheese’. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

160802Above: Chiffchaffs overwinter in Britain in small numbers and the population is  boosted from March onward by migrants arriving from southern Europe and beyond. The species’ name is onomatopoeic – just listen to the diagnostic song. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

Willow Warbler - Phylloscopus trochilusAbove: Although superficially similar to a Chiffchaff, the Willow Warbler has a song that is entirely different, comprising tuneful, descending cadences. It is a long-distance migrant that winters in Africa. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

Cuckoo - Cuculus canorusAbove: Hearing the first Cuckoo of spring is a much-awaited treat and in the past would generated letters to The Times newspaper. Today it’s more like to be a tweet or a blog that alerts people to their arrival. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

158177Above: The Reed Warbler is a favourite target of the Cuckoo for nest parasitism. As the name suggests the species is associated with extensive reed beds and males sing their raspy song from reed stems and wetland bushes. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

158138Above: Visit your nearest woodland or patch of scrub at dawn and you stand a good chance of hearing a singing Blackcap. The male’s song comprises jaunty phrases delivered with a tone somewhat akin to that of a Blackbird. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

158134Above: These days Nightingale numbers are much reduced compared to 50 years ago, their decline attributable to habitat loss and degradation in the main. Nevertheless, do a bit of research online and if you live in southern England you should not have to travel too far to hear one. Although they sing mainly after dark, they will also perform at dawn and dusk. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd

Whitethroat - Sylvia communisAbove: The scratchy song of the Whitethroat is a characteristic sound of scrub and bramble patches. The species is a migrant that winters in Africa. Paul Sterry/Nature Photographers Ltd