“For those not from the region who need to hear this unique call/song the edited recording is HERE.
“The Fire-tufted Barbet (Psilopogon pyrolophus) has always interested me with its unique cicada-like song or advertising-call. I had been keen to get a good recording and ‘dissect’ the song. The sonogram and waveform show one song recording, enlarged to give some idea of its make-up and content (below). Much of the analysis was done using Audacity software to enlarge the waveform for detailed counting and duration and Raven Pro for better visualisation.
“This particular song lasting 8 seconds; HBW 2019 says 3-8 seconds long, so this is a good size call to work with. The call is a bit softer at the start and then increases volume to reach a crescendo with a quick/brief decline at the end. It starts with a slower tempo/speed and picks up as it goes along. At the beginning the tempo is 1.6 notes per second (5 notes in 3.2 seconds) and at the end 16.7 notes per second (5 notes in 0.3 seconds). The space between call segments also shortens. This gives the classical ‘hurry’ that this advertising-call conveys.
“This call was made up of 47 segments (I will call these segments rather than notes to avoid confusion). Each of the 47 segments is actually made up of many more notes that gives the rasping nature to the sound/call. The segments start with larger number of notes and as the tempo pick up has smaller numbers. My counts give notes numbers from start to finish as: 55, 51, 44, 38, 33, 30, 23, 21, 18, 17, 15, 10, 10, 11, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 (see also the image). The bird largely kept a steady decline in note number per segment except for one occasion.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
4th March 2019
Location: 1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Habitat: Primary montane forest