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Tropical Wake-up Call

What's that racket?

If you lived along the forest's edge in Central America, every morning might begin with a cacophony of rhythmic guffaws, whistles, screeches, and screams. Plain Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees — like this one — join in the chorus. View a series of photos of the Plain Chachalaca taken by Texan Greg Lavaty. Like this show? Share it with a friend or on Facebook or Twitter. Just click the button above.

Support for BirdNote comes from Bloomsbury - a publisher of natural history books and birding guides. “Critical Critters” by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy is available now.

Full Transcript

Tropical Wake-up Call -
Plain Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees

Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!

[Raucous Plain Chachalaca calls mixed with loud Great Kiskadee whistled calls]

Does your household sometimes sound like this in the morning? Is that first hour occasionally a bit disorienting, as you and yours get ready for the day ahead? [Plain Chachalaca calls mixed with Great Kiskadee calls]

Well, if you lived farther south, say along the forest edge in tropical Central America, every morning might begin with this cacophony.

The rhythmic guffaws you’d hear [Plain Chachalaca calls] belong to a flock of chachalacas. Look, there they are — a dozen large, brown birds resembling small turkeys with long tails, hopping from branch to branch in the trees. Several chachalaca species reside in the tropics. They all sound very much alike, as if they were yelling out their name. [Plain Chachalaca calls]

You’d probably also hear the whistled notes of a Great Kiskadee [Great Kiskadee whistled calls]. The kiskadee, too, seems preoccupied with repeating its name. [Great Kiskadee whistled calls]

A suggestion? Some cool, gray fall morning when it’s hard to get going, let your thoughts drift south, for a rousing tropical wake-up call. [Plain Chachalaca calls mixed with Great Kiskadee calls]

You can share these amazing sounds with a friend. Send them the show from our website, I’m Michael Stein.


Sounds of  provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by 
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to          October 2013/2017     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# 102306wakeupKPLU  GKISPLCH-01b     

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