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Different Types Of Bird Calls

By John DoeLast update: 2024-06-05

If you are a professional birder, listening carefully will quickly realize that there are many different types of bird sounds and understand their distinct meanings and uses.

Understanding the different bird noises and distinguishing them is the first step to effective hearing with the ear and identifying birds based on sound. However, this takes practice to be able to use sound as a reliable way to identify birds. To better understand, let's learn the different types of bird calls.

1. Alarm bird call

Birds can tailor their calls in response to a wide range of threats. When a raptor flies overhead, songbirds can make a short, quiet, high-pitched sound that doesn't carry far.

And this will alert nearby birds without revealing the caller's location.

If a raptor is perched, small species may attempt to project deep and large to rally troops and repel intruders. Like chicks that let out a ferocious cry at the sight of a predator in the air. However, if a perched owl is encountered, it will chick-a-dee in increasing numbers depending on the severity of the threat.

2. Contact bird call

Often birds make phone calls to stay in touch with each other, often while they are foraging. These sounds are usually short, quick, and quiet, although if the bird separates, they can make a louder, more urgent call.

3. Flight bird calls

In general, species that fly in flocks call back and forth while in flight; This is a good way to spot clouds of blackbirds, waxbds, nightingales or bluebirds passing overhead.

Moreover, seabirds can also sing in the air. For the less social species there are also special callings that differ from the usual ones. In particular, during spring and autumn, most songbirds migrate at night; If you listen closely, you can hear the various songs of birds drifting down from the dark sky.

4. Begging bird call

Often the chicks make a "feed me" noise, while simultaneously flapping their wings to get the attention of their parents. This sort of thing will be repeated often and sounds pretty pathetic. Definitely not a way to find the species ID, but will give any chance of seeing the brood.

5. Sound description

Just starting to hear birdsong, you may have trouble describing what you're hearing without trying to whistle or call out. This is a challenge because some songbirds can sing two notes at once. Try to pay attention to the pitch (whether the note is high or low), the tempo (or speed), and how the tone comes out. Once you have enough preliminary descriptions, you can see if they match the characteristics most birders and field guides use.

6. Trill

Here's how to describe similar phrases that seem blurred together, almost like an old-fashioned alarm clock or a Nokia ringtone.

7. Buzz

The chime sounds like gossip but is faster-paced, so it's even harder to hear individual phrases.

8. Rich or thin

You can imagine this as the sound is rich, low and full, and the songs are as thin as the highs and faint. You can hear this contrast in the songs Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting; Grosbeak is richer.

9. Harsh

Describe any rough audio calls that are audible to the ear. It can be in the American bird or the Fish Crow.

Flute-like, bell-like, metallic or whistling

Think of it as listening to a marching band practice. It can compare the sounds of birds to musical instruments or other common objects, the melodious notes of the Hermit Thrush to the flute or the rusty screech of the Common Grackle to the swinging gate.

10. How to identify the bird call?

Focus on 1 bird chirping at a time when you are in the wild

Pick one call and focus on it so you don't get overwhelmed by countless other birdsong. Detect all other birds you understand and hear so you can focus on identifying the call you've chosen.

Choose the call with the clearest sound so that you can hear it when the call changes rhythm and tempo.

Start with one sound you recognize and then move on to another as you identify it.

Pay attention to pitch and volume to find the size of the bird

Listen for the call and determine its range to provide clues as to how large or small the bird is, which will help you identify it. Small birds will have a soft, high-pitched call, and large birds will have a loud, low-pitched, low-pitched call.

Many birds just vary the pitch of their calls, so using pitch alone might not be enough to identify it.

Track the rhythm of the call for bird type suggestions

As mentioned above, bird calls have a characteristic tempo and rhythm that can be used to identify them. Listen to the call and find out if the tempo is fast and quick like a sparrow chirping or slow and leisurely like a cardinal.

There are still many birds that use a lot of rhythm and tempo in their calls, but they are still recognizable.

Adjust the tone quality of the call to find the bird's identity

A bird's voice is a distinctive feature that can be used to help identify species. Listen for quality sounds like humming, hissing, chirping or whistle, and use it as a clue to what the bird is chirping. Sparrows have a clear vocalization while sparrows have a chirping sound, with notes running into each other.

Often the tonal quality of a bird's voice remains consistent, even when different notes or rhythms are used.

You can also use a manual that describes the tonal quality of a bird's call. Descriptive cues such as harsh, scratchy, loose, sharp, and flute-like can help identify the call.

Listen for repetition and length to distinguish vocalizations

While listening to the bird call, notice how many syllables or phrases are repeated before switching to a new pitch or rhythm. The repetition and length of calls in a bird's call can help you distinguish between two species of similar calls. As the Northern Mockingbird and the Brown Mockingbird have similar calls, the Brown Mockingbird will often repeat short syllables once or twice before changing the call, while the Mockingbird will repeat the syllables several times in succession. continue before changing.


Use a durable notebook that can handle the outside elements and carry a pen or pencil, when you're biking, hiking. Write down the date, your location, and a description of the calls you hear. If you can identify the bird, make a note of it. If you can't identify the chirping bird, describe the features so you can try to identify it later.

Thanks for the detailed notes will help you remember the calls heard and can use them to help determine what calls you will hear in the future.

Use a field guide for the area to identify birdsong

You can refer to the local bird field guide to be able to identify the calls heard based on the descriptions in the guide.

Note, choose instructions that include descriptions of the bird's calls, such as its timbre, pitch, and rhythm.

Some tutorials include spaces that can be used to write notes and make field observations.

Record a bird sound

In addition to taking notes, recording can also identify the sound of birds if we forget. Use a voice recorder or smartphone to record calls. Then you look up bird calls online and compare the recording with the one you find to pinpoint the exact one.

Playback the recording after the call is identified so it can be memorized.

Watch the bird sing to form a spiritual connection

Use binoculars or keep your eyes focused on the bird that can be seen when it calls. Watch the birds sing to help you form an analogy, which can be used in the future so you can quickly and easily recognize the bird calls. In addition, online recording searches can also be used to identify the bird species.

See an expert to learn the call of birds in the wild

Search online at local bird clubs or Audubon chapters and join them.

At the same time, you can also go out on birding trips and learn bird calls from experienced birders.


Understanding and distinguishing them will improve your knowledge and listening skills when you want to search or go sightseeing in the natural forest. You can join groups of experts that search for birds by call, prepare a notepad or tape recorder to seize every opportunity.

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