Humans court, animals have ceremonies, and birds sing. Such is the law of nature. Birds are infamous for their mating calls, and we love listening to this courtship song, sometimes watching courtship dances. But the White Bellbird will leave you covering your ears with earplugs, hands, and possibly your pillows! Known for the loudest mating call of any bird, white bellbirds’ ‘songs’ average at 126 decibels at any given time. If you’re stuck in the Science of it, let us give you a little recap. A sound of over 120 decibels can cause immediate hearing damage to humans! Wondering was 120 dB sounds like? Imagine standing close the police or ambulance siren, constant thunderclaps or torturous chainsaws!
Though you may think that white bellbird, known scientifically as Procnias albus, is seeking a partner far away because, as you know, he’s practically screaming, this is not the case. In fact, the males of this species scream in the face of the females! When a female white bellbird sits close to a male and hangs out for some time, the male decides to court her. Then turns his back towards the female and drops the first note. Suddenly, he turns around, and drops the second. Thank goodness, the females are smart enough to jump to a distance as soon as the male turns, lest they be traumatized!
Surely we wonder about the play of anatomy needed here for the production of the loudest mating call. The males have an extended beak with a ‘trumpet’ – something that looks like a worm. This might be what helps the call get louder. Another interesting fact is that these birds have ripped abs, no kidding. The abdominal muscles might also be helping them create the sound.
However, do understand that even though this bird has the loudest mating call, it isn’t much of a singer. White bellbirds can’t hold a note for too long, for their lungs run out of oxygen. But fear not, there isn’t much of a chance that this bird will scream in your ear. It lives only in Central and South America, and it stays on treetops most of the time.
But If you’re having a day and hear the call, rest assured, you will never forget it.
You’ll also love these hilarious talking birds!