The melody produced by birds is usually perceived as a calming and delightful sound. However, the white bellbird, despite its small size of merely 250 grams, produces such a loud and piercing sound that it can be quite overwhelming for listeners who may feel inclined to muffle it.
The white bellbird, which can be found in various parts of South America such as the Guianas, Brazil and Venezuela, is recognized as the loudest bird in existence. Its unique sound distinguishes it from other bird songs and serves as a mating call. Interestingly, the call of this avian species is so potent that it can generate up to 125 decibels- equivalent to the loudness of a grand concert. These ear-splitting calls are used by male white bellbirds to attract females that are perched nearby. However, due to the overwhelming volume of their calls, the female birds would eventually have to fly away as they cannot tolerate the noise.
According to research, female birds are able to endure high-pitched calls in order to evaluate potential mates, but they cannot tolerate staying together for long due to the risk of hearing damage. It seems like an unhealthy relationship! Scientists have dedicated a considerable amount of time to investigating these birds, exploring how they are able to produce such loud calls despite their small size weighing only 250 grams. “In the case of the white bellbird, we observed that they achieved this by directing air through their throats and opening their beaks wider,” shared a current Biology PhD student. Despite their volume, the calls are relatively brief due to the limited airflow in the bird’s respiratory system needed to create sound.