Bird Sounds & Videos: African Soundscapes

  1. West Coast (7.00) play sample
  2. Forest Robin (7.14) play sample
  3. Forest View (6.43) play sample
  4. Pafuri Portrait (7.20) play sample
  5. Bushveld Morning (7.13) play sample
  6. Satara Savanna (6.50) play sample
  7. Kruger Waterside (7.14) play sample
  8. Okavango Evening (7.17) play sample
  9. Kalahari Moonlight (7.21) play sample
  10. Kruger Night (7.16) play sample

African Soundscapes presents a unique selection of natural wildlife soundtracks carefully chosen for your listening pleasure. Recorded in digital stereo, using a specially developed technique that captures all the sounds of a natural atmosphere, the soundscapes create the closest possible experience to actually being there. Although no specific animal is a subject, interesting species include lion, hyaena, jackal, hippo, wildebeest, zebra, African Fish Eagle and Pels Fishing Owl. Intentionally recorded with all the natural background sounds included, they are best enjoyed at a low volume, and are suitable for both wildlife appreciation, relaxation and meditation. The descriptions below generally indicate the first occurrence of a species, or where the sounds are more prominent for identification.

1. WEST COAST (7.00) play sample
Saldanha Bay. Easter Sunday. Across the bay the harbour is quiet as the cool morning mist clears and the waves break gently on the shore. Swift Terns begin to lift off the beach, calling as they fly back and forth. A Kelp Gull (3.10) calls evocatively, and a Hartlaub's Gull (3.30) flies overhead . On the shore, Grey Plovers (2.10) whistle melodiously as they walk by, and small flocks of Little Stints and Turnstones feed between the waves. Just offshore, African Black Oystercatchers(3.30) call from some rocks.

2. FOREST ROBIN (7.14) play sample
A coastal forest near Umzinto, Natal. November. It is early and raining softly. A Brown Robin sings sweetly from within the forest. The song is long and sustained. In the background are many species, including the soft growl of Knysna Lourie(0.10), whistled duet of Southern Boubou(0.20), 'ho-ho-ho..' of Narina Trogon(0.30), Blackeyed Bulbul (1.00), Paradise Flycatcher(1.05), the liquid whistle of a Blackheaded Oriole(1.20), 'pop-pop-pop..' of Redfronted Tinkerbarbet(1.20), harsh staccato of Sqaretailed Drongo(2.30), soft 'poo-poo..' whistle of Cape Batis(2.40), Blackbellied Starling(4.50), harsh 'clack-clack' of Bleating Warbler (5.20), and high-pitched song of Olive Sunbird(5.40).

3. FOREST VIEW (6.43) play sample
Looking over a coastal forest near Umzinto, Natal. January. An hour after dawn the forest chorus has built up to a crescendo. The deep, slow, 'doo---doo---doo..' of the Tambourine Dove keeps us company, while the high-pitched 'tee-tee' of a Longtailed Wagtail rings out from a forest stream. The 'pop-pop-pop' of Redfronted Tinkerbarbet and soft warbled whistle of Natal Robin are heard in the background, and the harsh staccato calls of Squaretailed Drongo disturb the tranquility. A Goldentailed Woodpecker (0.55) screams, a Knysna Lourie (1.00) calls gruffly, and a Bleating Warbler(1.30) starts its 'clack.clack..' call. Later, a Barthroated Apalis(2.05) calls, and a Forest Weaver(2.30) sings briefly . The variety of a Southern Boubou (3.00,4.25,5.40) is heard, Terrestrial Bulbuls (4.50) chatter softly, and Blackcollared Barbets (5.10) duet.

4. PAFURI PORTRAIT (7.20) play sample
Kruger National Park, October. At the northern tip of the park is Pafuri, a birdwatcher's mecca. The riverine forest along the Levubu river attracts a host of species. The soundscape begins with Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Purplecrested Lourie and Heuglins Robin all singing together. They are quickly followed by the melodious rattle of a Yellowspotted Nicator (0.30) and the 'baby cry' of a Trumpeter Hornbill (0.40). A Heuglins Robin (0.50) begins a duet, and is shouted down by a group of Natal Francolin (1.00). A Tropical Boubou whistles(1.20), then croaks like a frog (1.50), and calls again (4.50). The mellow descending 'do-do-do..' of the Burchells Coucal (1.20,5.40) and similar Greenspotted Dove (1.50,3.00) are heard in the back-ground. Heuglin's Robin duets throughout, and Orangebreasted Bush shrike calls again (6.40).

5. BUSHVELD MORNING (7.13) play sample
Kruger National Park, January. Napi Bush Camp is a private trails camp near Skukuza. Situated on an almost dry river bed, the bush is heavier and the birds concentrate around the small pools of water. A pair of Giant Eagle Owls are still calling well after dawn, while the trill of the Woodland Kingfisher competes with the 'piet-my-vrou' of the Redchested Cuckoo. In the background, Cape Turtle Doves keep up their incessant 'co-cooru', and the Greenspotted Dove (0.30) calls soothingly . The tranquility is disturbed by Natal Francolin (0.50), and restored somewhat by the mournful whistle of a Greyheaded Bush Shrike (2.00). Ground Hornbills duet softly in the distance (3.20).

6. SATARA SAVANNA (6.50) play sample
Kruger National Park, February. The savanna around Satara brings together a variety of grassland and woodland species. The early morning sounds are characterised by the harsh crow of Swainson's Francolin (0.40), and high pitched song of Sabota Larks (0.20). A Wildebeest grunts, Zebras honk, and a nearby Blackbellied Korhaan (0.50, 3.50) 'gulps' at extended intervals. In the background, Monotonous Larks(0.40) call sweetly, Rattling Cisticolas (3.10) 'rattle', Burchell's Starlings (1.40) converse, and Cape Turtle and Laughing Doves take turns.

7. KRUGER WATERSIDE (7.17) play sample
Kruger National Park, October. Early morning at a dam near Bateleur private camp. The mopane bushveld is in bloom although the dam levels are still low. Impala wrestle briefly on the far side and a group of Egyptian Geese chase one another, calling raucously. A Whitefaced Duck (0.40) whistles, Blackwinged Stilts (0.45) and Threebanded Plovers (1.00) call, and Hippos rumble from across the dam. As things quieten, a Blackcrowned Tchagra whistles melodiously, while Hoopoe and Redeyed Dove call softly from the trees. Along the shoreline, a Marsh Sandpiper (2.20) calls in alarm, a Blacksmith Plover (3.00) calls briefly , a Whitefronted Plover (3.02) trills mellowly, and African Pied wagtail sing sweetly (4.05). As the hippos rumble once more, a Water Dikkop gives its beautiful crescendo whistle (3.10). A Wood Sandpiper calls as it takes flight (4.40), and at last, the Fish Eagles call and duet (5.20).

8. OKAVANGO EVENING (7.17) play sample
Okavango, July. Early evening overlooking a small lagoon. A Barred Owl is already calling as the frogs and crickets begin their nightly chorus. In the distance, a Fierynecked Nightjar (0.30) begins its nightlong 'good lord deliver us', and Arrowmarked Babblers (1.00) object for the last time. A second nightjar starts to answer the first (1.40), this time closer. As the evening draws on, a Pels Fishing Owl (4.30) begins to boom its foghorn-like call, and is answered distantly by a second bird. Also in the distance, hippo rumble and splash in the water (6.10).

9. KALAHARI MOONLIGHT (7.21) play sample
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. March. A moonlit night overlooking the waterhole outside Nossob camp. The barking geckos are in full swing, and the 'k-k-k-krooo' of a Whitefaced Owl is answered by the 'hoo-huu' of a Spotted Eagle Owl. A jackal howls as it walks across the plain, and Spotted Dikkops(0.35) object to the disturbance. Not too close, a lion (2.50) roars its disapproval. Later, a Pearlspotted Owl(4.50) calls briefly.

10. KRUGER NIGHT (7.16) play sample
Kruger National Park. November. It is the middle of a dark night outside Punda Maria camp. The cicadas are churring and the 'prroop' of a Scops Owl is answered by the 'k-k-k-krooo' of a Whitefaced Owl. A Barn Owl sreams briefly (0.30), and a hyaena howls in the distance. The grumbling of a Giant Eagle Owl (1.20) is heard, and a Fierynecked Nightjar (2.20) begins calling. Later, a hyaena(4.10) disturbs a lion, who in turn wakes the rest of the pride.

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