How Loud is the Three-Wattled Bellbird? [Revealed!]

by Victor
three-wattled bellbird sound

The three-wattled bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus) is renowned for its powerful and far-reaching vocalizations, which resonate through the cloud forests of Central America. This unique avian species has captivated researchers and nature enthusiasts with its distinct calls. In this article, we delve into the extraordinary vocal abilities of the three-wattled bellbird, exploring just how loud this avian songster can be.

The Bellbird’s Signature Call

The three-wattled bellbird derives its name from the three long, fleshy wattles that dangle from its beak, lending it a distinctive appearance. However, it is the bird’s captivating calls that truly set it apart. Male bellbirds possess an impressive vocal repertoire, producing calls that range from soft, melodious notes to thunderous, resonating bell-like sounds.

Decibel Measurements

The loudness or volume of a sound is measured in decibels (dB), with each increase of 10 dB representing a tenfold increase in sound intensity. The calls of the three-wattled bellbird have been recorded at remarkable volumes, reaching levels that rival some of the loudest creatures in the animal kingdom.

The Ear-Splitting Call of the Male

When the male three-wattled bellbird unleashes its full vocal prowess, its call can reach astonishing sound levels. Studies have documented peak sound pressure levels of up to 125 decibels, which is comparable to the volume of a chainsaw or a live rock concert. This remarkable vocal output is one of the loudest among bird species.

Carrying Across the Forest

The powerful calls of the male bellbird can travel great distances through the dense cloud forest habitat. The unique combination of low-frequency sound and high sound intensity allows the bellbird’s calls to penetrate the forest canopy and carry over long distances, ensuring effective communication and territorial advertisement.

Function and Significance of Loud Calls

The loud calls of the three-wattled bellbird serve several crucial purposes. Firstly, they play a significant role in attracting mates and establishing breeding territories. The males use their resonating calls as a vocal display, signaling their presence and attracting females while deterring rival males from encroaching on their territory.

Acoustic Adaptations

The three-wattled bellbird’s vocalizations are not solely a result of vocal strength but are also influenced by anatomical adaptations. The bird’s specialized vocal apparatus, including its enlarged syrinx (the vocal organ in birds), allows for the production of distinct and powerful sounds. The elongated trachea and other anatomical features enhance the amplification and projection of the bellbird’s calls.

Conservation Implications

While the three-wattled bellbird’s loud calls are a source of fascination, they also have conservation implications. These birds are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by deforestation and human activities. Diminishing forest cover may disrupt their ability to communicate effectively and find mates, potentially impacting their reproductive success.


The three-wattled bellbird’s vocal abilities are truly awe-inspiring. Its calls, reaching sound levels comparable to industrial machinery, exemplify the extraordinary vocal adaptations and prowess of this unique avian species. By appreciating and understanding the remarkable volume of the bellbird’s vocalizations, we gain insight into its complex social dynamics and contribute to the conservation of its cloud forest habitat.

As we strive to protect the three-wattled bellbird and its habitat, it is essential to recognize the ecological significance of its loud calls. Preserving the integrity of the cloud forests allows these remarkable birds to continue enchanting us with their resounding melodies, and ensures their crucial role in the intricate web of biodiversity in Central America’s natural landscapes.

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