HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Recreation » Birders (Group) » Loudest Bird - Bellbirds ...

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 08:23 PM

Loudest Bird - Bellbirds of South America

I found this on Quora and thought it was really interesting:

What species of birds are considered the loudest on earth?

Timothy Barksdale, Degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, birder for over 55 years
Answered Dec 13, 2018

Bell birds in South America!~

It is staggering how loud a couple of the birds in the genus are. For some reason South America has a couple of VERY loud birds. I’d add Australia to that as well, but I digress.

The Bellbirds are of the genus: Procnia. Medium sized birds that are about a bit bigger than the American Robin. Stouter and rather large headed, they have a huge gape (mouth). They tend to almost bow before uttering the call. in the species I’ve seen (and heard !) there is often a two-part nature to the call.

I filmed the one species in Costa Rica but that is the only species found outside of the South American continent. Three-wattled Bellbird. I didn't find it to be as ear-piercing as Bearded. Cool and very neat colors. But not so loud. That bird appeared in AllBird Tv back in the 1990’s.

The others are: Bearded Bellbird, White Bellbird and Bare-throated Bellbird.

When I filmed Bare-throated Bellbird in Brazil, the sound was distinctly softer. So I think we can take that one off the list of Loudest birds in the world.

The first part of most of the calls are not as loud as the second. And of the three species I have seen in my opinion, Bearded Bellbird take the prize for loudest species on the planet. I remember hearing the bird about a mile from a lodge in Trinidad. My girlfriend and I hurried to the spot only to be rather confused by the incredible piercing volume and this helped to prevent us from finding the calling male- right away. After using some impromptu techniques to locate the bird. We did find him. The sheer volume of noise was almost disorientating. and it all happens in a second. Bearded Bellbird has a longer series call too. Crank-crank crank repeated for quite a while.

The sound is like taking a heavy sledgehammer and hitting an anvil as hard as you can but amplifying it.

But I also have heard that White Bellbird is the most “bell-like” as well as extraordinarily loud.

One thing to keep in mind. Microphones and audio recorders have limits before distortion kicks in. All the sound recordists I know - know that the channel must be brought down or all you get is garbage. So all the good recordings at Xeno-canto (free) are normally well adjusted to proper limits.

That is the way I am explaining to you that- you are not getting the full immersive experience on-line. You simply have to go there in person to hear and feel the explosive power of the birds. Remember too, they are sitting on a branch- 40 -50 -60 feet up in the air and the sound is not focusing downward at you. It is being broadcast through the dense forest canopy to females.

I have been totally impressed with the Australian Lyrebird’s repertoire and I could see some of those calls to be incredibly loud too.

Finally the Screaming Piha is quite loud. I filmed a bird in Ecuador on his perch for quite a few minutes…. but did not lose my mind. So I will stick with Bearded or White Bellbird as my nominees for ear shattering loudest birds on the planet.


White Bellbird

Bearded Bellbird

Young boy describing White Bellbird as Earth to Outerspace

White Bellbirds on Xeno-Canto


0 replies, 420 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread