Whether you’re someone who finds the chirping of birds soothing, or someone who cringes and thinks of horror films when you hear their twittering communication, there’s one thing we’re all going to agree on – the white bellbird is a rockstar bird who probably arrived here straight from hell.
What is a white bellbird? So glad you asked.
The bird is found in the Guianas, Brazil, and Venezuela, and makes a sound loud enough to be…quite shocking, to say the least. This is not your backyard songbird.
They use their noise as a mating call, and it is the decibel level of a fire alarm. That’s 125 decibels, to be exact, which is also comparable to a pretty loud rock concert.
They don’t even really sound like birds. Also, I just have to point out the weird dangly bit coming from their forehead. WHAT?
The squawks are so loud, they can drive even the females away after a quick assessment. Which seems to defeat the whole point!
The process confuses even scientists, who aren’t sure why or how a bird would have a mating call that’s so deafening it sends potential mates flying for cover.
“In white bellbirds we can see that just before singing birds gulp in air, thus inflating their throats, and open their beaks widely,” says a Current Biology says.
Which tells us how they make the sound, but not why it is as loud and as startling as it is – though since there are more white bellbirds being born, it obviously works.
Whoever named them was on the right track, I think, because “bellbird” sounds pretty much like “hellbird,” which is the name I would choose.
Which is probably why no one puts me in charge of these things.