Interpretation of Red Junglefowl Crow And Its Sound Analysis

on 9th January 2014

“The crow of Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) is well known to many, including non-bird watchers. With regular encounters with the species, I have come to understand some of the meanings associated with the crow.

“Lao Da, the alpha male in my condo, has many females in his harem, given the large population of the species, now numbering 44 (pure or otherwise). On many occasions, when I approached some of the hens, Lao Da would come near to me in a bit of threatening manner and crowed. It was like telling me: ‘Hey mate, don’t mess around, they are mine!’

“There was on another occasion when Lao Er went towards Lao Si, by now a fully grown adult, which was in the company of a hen foraging. As Lao Si approached, the couple quickly moved away. Lao Er stopped and crowed, as if telling the hen that it was the better match for her. However, the couple did not stop and Lao Er turned back. It looked like the crow was also a wooing mechanism.

“However, I still could not make out the meaning of the crow at night, sometimes right at midnight.

“The short video clip of Lao Da’s crow was recorded two days ago when it told me off again:

“The crow sound has been extracted from the clip for a sound analysis, because of the exceptional quality – low ambient noise and close range recording, thus preserving much of the higher frequency contents. These high frequency components are easily lost/absorbed when they travel through air and recorded at some distance away.

“The images (above and below) show the sonograms of the sound in conventional black and white and colour respectively. The images revealed that the frequency of the sound can reach above 22 KHz, with the base pitch (frequency) of the crow at ~2 KHz.

“The next video clip of the sound visualisation is produced with a free software Sonic Visualiser. It allows the sound to be shown in waveform (above) and sonogram (below) in the window.

“For more explanations on how to interprete sonograms, please refer to LINK.

“The animated video LINK is a sonogram in 3D, with the height of the ‘hillly terrain’ representing the intensity (loudness) of the particular frequency at a specific time.”

Sun Chong Hong
25th December 2013

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. Hi Sun, your article is interesting. Thank you for sharing. May I ask a question, the second line of the 3rd paragraph, “As Lao Si approached,…” Did you mean “As Lao Er approached..” ? Thank you.

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