May 8, 2009

The Noisy Nine

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 3:30 am

Barking Gecko:The true sound of the Kalahari is the clicking of male barking gecko as dusk draws them to their burrow entrance. The noise builds as each rival takes up the challenge, like a chorus of shaken matchboxes,

Spotted Hyena:The questioning ‘whoop’ of spotted hyenas embodies a night in the African bush. It serves to call wandering individuals together so they can pirate a kill and hare the spoils.

Hadeda Ibis:Melodic is not. Bur the raucous braying of this bird heralds its arrival as surely as a trumpet fanfare – from the gardens of suburban Jo’burg to the lakeshores of Nakuru.

Bushbaby:The largest bushbaby has the loudest territorial call: piercing infant like shrieks that leave no doubt the origin of its name.

Trumpeter Hornbill:A ‘bushbaby’ heard by day is probably one of these big beaked birds, whose wailing calls help keep the feeding party together. Listenout for the whoosh of wings overhead as they lurch from tree to tree.

Tree Hyrax:If a ‘bushbaby’ sounds unhappy, then you may be listening to a tree hyrax, whose crescendo of nocturnal cries climaxes in choking screams.

Hippo: Their deep, resonant grunts – amplified by the great barrel of a body – roll for kilometres downstream.

Cicada:This ear splitting insect gensrates its relentless noise not by stridulation (rubbing together legs or wings, as crickets do), but by the rapid, rhythmic contraction of organs on its abdomen called ‘timbals’. Only males produce the sound.

African Fish Eagle:This striking raptor gets top marks for effort as it throws bach its head in yodelling duet with its mate.

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