There are approximately 10,000 species of birds on Earth, each showcasing a distinctive behavior, plumage, or voice. In this colorful bird universe, some have claimed a unique title – the loudest birds. This article uncovers the exciting characteristics of these sound titans, diving into their origins, special features, and why their vocal prowess is so significant.
|Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia
|Greater Prairie Chicken
|South Asia, Southeast Asia
|Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Australia
|Mealy Amazon Parrot
|Central and South America
1. White Bellbird (Average Decibel: 125 dB)
Origin: South America
Possibly the loudest bird recorded to date, the White Bellbird resides in the mountains of the northern part of South America, primarily Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela.
The males have a unique look: a black-feathered body and a distinctive white head. A peculiar feature is their wattle, a fleshy, elongated structure dangling from their beak, used primarily during their mating call.
Their song reaches an astonishing 125 decibels, equivalent to the noise level at a loud rock concert. Researchers believe this extreme loudness is a mating strategy, as males only use the call when a female is nearby.
Interestingly, the females seem unbothered by the deafening noise, possibly due to evolutionary adaptations.
2. Moluccan Cockatoo (Average Decibel: 120 dB)
Native to the Seram archipelago in eastern Indonesia, the Moluccan Cockatoo is one of the largest and loudest of the Cockatoo family.
It’s recognized by its salmon-pink feathers, a large retractable crest, and its strong curved beak, designed to crack open hard nuts and seeds.
They can produce a call as loud as 120 dB, almost like a chainsaw running nearby. In the wild, this loud call allows them to communicate across vast distances within dense rainforests. However, this high volume can pose a challenge for those keeping Moluccan Cockatoos as pets.
3. Southern Cassowary (Average Decibel: 115 dB)
Origin: Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia
The Southern Cassowary is a flightless bird known for its large size, vibrant blue neck, and striking helmet-like casque atop its head.
Originating from the tropical rainforests of New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and Indonesia, they are as famous for their deep, resonant calls as they are for their elusive nature.
Cassowaries produce low-frequency booming sounds, which can reach up to 115 dB. These sounds are mostly audible to humans as a series of thuds, but much of the call is at frequencies below human hearing range, traveling great distances through the dense forest undergrowth.
4. Two-Wattled Bellbird (Average Decibel: 110 dB)
Origin: Central America
The Two-Wattled Bellbird, hailing from Central America’s mountainous regions, is unique in appearance with its chestnut plumage, contrasted by a white head and throat in males. The males also have two long, curled wattles hanging from the base of their beaks, hence their name.
While not as loud as their White Bellbird cousins, their song is still impressive at 110 dB, resembling the sound of a metallic hammer striking an anvil. The Bellbird’s call is instrumental in maintaining their territory, with their distinctive song echoing through the cloud forests.
5. Greater Prairie Chicken (Average Decibel: 110 dB)
Origin: North America
The Greater Prairie Chicken is a North American bird primarily found in the grasslands. It’s known for its unique mating display, where the males.
Inflate orange air sacs on their necks, raise elongated pinnae feathers on their heads, and emit a resonant “booming” sound.
Their display calls can reach up to 110 dB, a loud, moaning ghost-like sound that can be heard over a mile away. This ritual is performed in a communal location called a “lek,” allowing females to select the most impressive mate.
6. Parakeet (Average Decibel: 70 dB)
Parakeets, also known as budgies, are a diverse group of parrots found worldwide, including in Australia, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Characterized by their vibrant plumage and long tail feathers, Parakeets have become popular pets due to their cheerful disposition and capacity for mimicking human speech.
While not as loud as others on this list, their call can reach 70 dB, equivalent to a vacuum cleaner. Parakeets tend to be chatty birds, producing various chattering sounds, chirps, and whistles, particularly during social interaction or in response to perceived danger.
7. Peacock (Average Decibel: 90 dB)
Origin: South Asia, Southeast Asia
The Peacock, or Indian Peafowl, is renowned worldwide for its stunning iridescent tail, which fans out in a majestic display during courtship rituals.
This vibrantly colored bird originates from South Asia and Southeast Asia but has been introduced in many other parts of the world.
The Peacock’s call can reach 90 dB and is characterized by quick, high-pitched “may-awe” sounds. This call serves multiple purposes, including attracting mates, warning off predators, and declaring territory.
8. Eclectus Parrot (Average Decibel: 85 dB)
Origin: Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Australia
The Eclectus Parrot, native to the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and northeastern Australia, is uniquely sexually dimorphic – males are bright green, and females are vibrant red and purple. This vivid bird is known for its intelligence and ability to mimic human speech.
Their vocalization can reach 85 dB and emit a wide variety of sounds, including squawks, screams, and human-like talking. These vocalizations are key to their social interactions, signaling everything from joy to agitation.
9. Sun Conure (Average Decibel: 120 dB)
Origin: South America
Hailing from South America, the Sun Conure is a small, vibrantly colored parrot known for its sociability and affectionate nature. Its plumage is a dazzling yellow, orange, and red mix, reminiscent of a sunset, hence its name.
Despite their small size, Sun Conures are incredibly loud, with their calls reaching 120 dB. Their vocalizations, a series of high-pitched screeches and squawks, serve to communicate within their flock and mark their territory.
10. Cockatiel (Average Decibel: 65 dB)
Originating from Australia, the Cockatiel is a small parrot recognized by its round, crested head and long tail feathers. They are often kept as pets, known for their friendly nature and the males’ ability to mimic songs and tunes.
While their calls are not as loud as others on this list, reaching around 65 dB, Cockatiels are known to be vocal birds. Their sounds range from piercing whistles to softer chirps, used to express happiness, attract a mate, or signal distress.
11. Mealy Amazon Parrot (Average Decibel: 96 dB)
Origin: Central and South America
The Mealy Amazon Parrot is one of the larger species of Amazon parrots, native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. They are recognized by their predominantly green plumage, with subtle blue and yellow hues on their heads and tails.
Their vocalizations can be pretty loud, reaching up to 96 dB. Mealy Amazon Parrots are adept at mimicking sounds, including human speech, making them popular but demanding pets due to their high volume and need for mental stimulation.
12. Nanday Conure (Average Decibel: 113 dB)
Origin: South America
Nanday Conures, native to South America, are known for their distinctive black-hooded heads, green bodies, and blue-tipped wings. Despite being one of the smaller parrots, they are pretty vocal and energetic.
Their call can reach an impressive 113 dB. These birds have a variety of vocalizations, including high-pitched squawks and screeches, often used for communicating within their flock or signaling a perceived threat.
Birds have always been considered the virtuosos of the animal kingdom, their melodies, and calls providing the natural world’s soundtrack.
The loudest birds push this musicality to its limits, with their high-decibel songs playing critical roles in communication, mating, and territory establishment.
From the echo of the Bellbird in the South American mountains to the boom of the Cassowary in the Australian rainforests, these loud voices remind us of the remarkable diversity and wonder of the avian world.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.