Essay

Why the White Bellbird is the Best Thing Since the Airhorn

“The reason birds can fly and we cannot is simply because they have perfect faith, for faith is to have wings.” However, for this bird, it is not about the flight, it is about the sound. The white bellbird may not be well-known, but it will be soon, for its cry cannot be missed! With its dazzling white feathers and deafening call, this bird is certain to sweep an individual off their feet! Or to be exact, make them go partly deaf.

Male white bellbirds have the loudest mating birdsong ever recorded with a measure of up to an astonishing 125.4 dB, louder than even a chainsaw! Before researchers recorded the bellbird’s cry, the honour of the loudest call belonged to the Piha-which measured to be up to 116 dB. Male white bellbirds call to find a mate and alert them of their presence. True to its name, the bird’s call sounds like a large (and very loud) bell.

Furthermore, the male white bellbird’s tendency to open their beaks wide while making the sound may aid in the birds’ call, resulting in a full-throated call. Its call might also be loud because of the bird’s diet, which consists mainly of fruit. Many of the fruits it consumes are the size of golf balls, which the bird can consume (literally) whole-heartedly. The reason is probably that the bird’s vocal cords vibrate extremely fast and having a proper water balance helps to keep them lubricated (similar to humans). High amounts of water can be found in fruit which can help the vocal cords. It also feeds on nectar.

Pursuing this topic further, white male bellbirds have a plush, white coat with a long, fleshy feather on their forehead (called the rosette), while females have overall olive feathers with yellowish streaks. The fleshy feather on top of the beak does not have anything to do with its call but may be attractive to the females. If so, then the females have good taste. Additionally, many white bellbirds are the size of pigeons. They can be found in the forests of Guianas, with small numbers in Venezuela and the Brazilian state of Pará. 

So make some noise for the white bellbird! Not well-known, but soon will be, with its ear-piercing cry and snowy-white feathers, this bird is sure to please. While one may want to see the white bellbird for themselves, it is much better to stay away because its call can greatly damage a person’s ears. A simple recommendation is to just stay away from the real bellbird and search it up!