When a plane takes off, it makes a sound of 120 decibels or dB and we found it too harsh for our ears. But there’s a bird that can sing at a voice louder than this. Researchers have found that a tiny Amazonian bird makes a “ridiculously loud” mating call that can reach up to 124.5 dB – louder than the sound of a plane taking off. This white bellbird lives in the remote mountainous rainforest of the Amazon in northern Brazil. It has the loudest recorded bird call. The males of the species, weighing a quarter of a kilogram, give a mating call which can be heard from miles.
The researchers went deep into the mountainous forest to record the mating songs of two species of contingas birds – the screaming piha and the white bellbird. The previous record of being the loudest bird was held by piha that can hit up to 116.1 decibels. It was also found that the white bellbird performed two types of songs with one being more common than the other. On the other hand, piha makes just one type of sound. The white bellbird was recorded singing in a range of scenarios. Interestingly, the researchers found that the male bellbirds sang loudest in the company of females. This is in sharp contrast to the trend that animals are loudest when they have to communicate across long distances.
It was also found that the males turn their head to face his potential mate and aim the audible assault directly at them. According to the authors, the females would move away, not more than 4 meters, when their potential mate sang. According to Professor Jeff Podos, a co-author and expert in vertebrate behavior at the University of Massachusetts, the songs seem to startle the females. The researchers also noted that the duration of the song reduced with the increase of volume. They are planning to continue with the research to find out how these birds can sing so loudly without deafening their prospective mates and even themselves.