Birds are the original masters of sound – they play dazzling tunes and can create a fantastically diverse range of sounds. But there are some sounds that are so unusual, you won’t believe they came out of their little beaks.
Click start to play today’s Crossword, where you can find a bird that sounds like a vessel in 5-Across.
Here are a few birdsongs worth knowing:
1. Musician wren
These birds are at the top of the pyramid, in terms of musical abilities. According to the US-based American Bird Conservatory, the Musician Wren’s compelling melody has earned comparisons to iconic composers Bach and Haydn. These birds live in the Amazon, and in 2013, researchers finally realised why their birdsong is so appealing. They discovered the birds use consonant intervals or complementary notes to string together the perfect tune. Their incredible ability has brought them unwanted attention however – since they are considered to be lucky, they are often hunted and sold as stuffed charms. They are already disappearing in their native habitats.
This bird already stands out for its unique looks – broad-winged, with a disproportionately small head, it’s burnt orange in colour and is found in rainforests in South America. During mating season, however, the male Capuchinbird sucks in air in the sacs around its neck, then deflates them, producing an eerie, buzzing sound. It’s often compared to the sound of a chainsaw or even a cow’s moo!
3. White bellbird
With a call that can be heard from great distances, the white bellbird is a tropical creature that is responsible for producing the loudest avian sounds on Earth. Its birdcall was measured at 125 decibels – equivalent to a jackhammer! The white bellbird can be distinguished by the skin hanging from its bill, known as a wattle, similar to the skin you might find on roosters. The feature is used to woo potential mates.
4. American bittern
This bird produces a series of hypnotic, dripping sounds, earning it the nicknames ‘belcher-squelcher’ and ‘thunder-pumper’. Males of the species attract mates and claim breeding grounds by gulping down pockets of air and then releasing a ‘pump-er-lunk’ sound. Although these birds could once be found across North America, their population has decreased by 43 per cent in the last 50 years.