I posted some images of Puff-throated Babblers (Pellorneum ruficeps acrum) recently – I had glimpses of two birds that were together, heard multiple calls and songs and listened to vocal interactions between the pair. Many of us would be used to the classical calls these birds make; some sources (Handbook of the Birds of the World 2020, Lim, Yong & Lim 2020) call this a song but this is not correct.
The song is used less often and far more ‘dramatic’. Wells (2007) describes them as a “powerful, explosive, whistling song” that is rendered in three parts and repeated. I heard it a few times and there is much variation in its use. The song starts louder and then diminishes a little. It can last 5-20 seconds and the three part note can be repeated numerous times. The song can be used again in a few minutes. In addition the birds can make many other notes as part of the song and the partner can chip in some vocalisation.
The sonogram for this song is one of the most fascinating I have yet to encounter (Post 1 and 2). There is a baseline series of notes but built on that is a mass scatter of notes that look like butterflies in flight – a chaotic symmetry. Ignore the horizontal band at 10kHz which is background machinery.
A call recording can be heard here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/607034
Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr) – Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: City fringe with secondary growth
Date: 19th November 2020
Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone