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Meet the World's Loudest Bird

The white bellbird hits 125.4 decibels
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2019 10:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The male white bellbird has just earned the distinction of being the loudest bird on the planet. Just ask the female white bellbirds—the guys essentially scream in their faces at courting time. In fact, that's one of the surprises from the study. As the researchers delicately put it in Current Biology, "[It is] unclear why female white bellbirds willingly stay so close to males as they sing." For the record, the scientists measured the Brazilian bird's shriek at 125.4 decibels, slightly higher than your typical rock concert (120) but a bit lower than an air raid siren (130), per ScienceAlert. You can listen for yourself here. The call outdoes the previous loudest bird call, that of the screaming piha, at 116 decibels.

"While watching white bellbirds, we were lucky enough to see females join males on their display perches," says Jeff Podos of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "In these cases, we saw that the males sing only their loudest songs. Not only that, they swivel dramatically during these songs, so as to blast the song's final note directly at the females." What's surprising about all this is that the white bellbird is a pretty small bird, about the size of a dove and weighing maybe half a pound, notes Australia's ABC. The trick, apparently, is that they have avian six-packs: The birds have well-developed abdominal muscles and ribs. (Read more birds stories.)

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