listen to africa

an audio adventure through africa


Sounds: wildlife recordings

"People protect what they love" - Jacques Cousteau.

Throughout this 24,000 kilometre sound expedition, we will be recording as wide a range of African wildlife sounds as we can, including birds, amphibians, mammals, bats and insects. We hope that, through publishing the sound recordings here and donating them to libraries like the British Sound Library, we might contribute a little to the global library of wildlife sound recordings, and maybe encourage a little more love for the wonders of our natural world (read more about why we're recording wildlife sounds).

Browse our wildlife sound recordings below, or listen to:

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Geotag Icon Wildlife: Yellow-casqued Hornbill

audio, wildlife posted by on Jan 15th, 2010

This is the first of many recordings we made on the beautiful Tiwai Island, one of Sierra Leone’s largest inland islands and a nature reserve preserving one of the last tracts of the Upper Guinea Forest in Sierra Leone. Eight types of hornbills are found on Tiwai, including this beauty, the Yellow-casqued Hornbill, whose whooshing wings and distinctive trumpeting vocalisations are often heard above the forest canopy – especially at this time of year. This is an edited extract from a much longer recording we have of this pair of hornbills. In the background, you’ll hear cracking noises and other movements created by some of Tiwai’s larger animals – including a group of Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys in the nearby branches. We’d like to thank all the Tiwai Island crew, especially Suzanne for all her help and our guide, Hindowa Kamara, for his patience, knowledge, skill and silence! We’ll be posting several more recordings from Tiwai over the next few days (along with a couple of blog posts to update you on our travels, which have been quite eventful recently…).

Species: Ceratogymna elata
Common name: Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Yellow-casqued Wattled Hornbill
IUCN Red List status: Near threatened
Date and time recorded: 07:17 local time, 23rd December 2009
Location: Tiwai Island, Sierra Leone (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Wildlife: Giant Eagle Owl

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 14th, 2009

Giant Eagle Owls are wonderful creatures; they have huge, lidded eyes that make them look a little like gremlins, and they sound a bit like pigs. We were lucky enough to enjoy the presence of two (wild) Giant Eagle Owls at Le Thiossane camp in Senegal, and we spent a few hours sitting near this vocal individual’s tree and gaining its confidence before setting up the recorder. This extract is taken from the hour-long recording we have of this individual.

Species: Bubo lacteus
Common name: Giant Eagle Owl
Date and time recorded: 18:54 local time, 6th September 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon White Rhino

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 14th, 2009

White rhino in the Bandia reserveWhile we were in the Bandia Reserve, our guide, Mamadou, stopped the vehicle and went off on foot to follow some large tracks. Fifteen minutes later, he came back and told us to follow him, on foot. He led us to a wooded copse, where the Bandia Reserve’s only two (Southern) White Rhinos – an eight year-old pair – were resting. Here are the few seconds we managed to snatch of the female breathing.

Species: Ceratotherium simum
Common name: Southern White Rhinoceros
Date and time recorded: 12:42 local time, 31st August 2009
Location: Bandia Reserve, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Flock of Village (Spotted-Backed) Weavers

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 14th, 2009

Flock of village weavers nestingThis flock of Village Weavers was busy building nests in a tree just across from the restaurant in the Bandia Reserve. Every now and then the whole flock would suddenly go quiet for one or two seconds before starting up again. In this recording, taken just before the skies opened to rain, we captured one of these silences.

Species: Ploceus cucullatus
Common name: Village (Spotted-Backed) Weaver
Date and time recorded: 13:47 local time, 31st August 2009
Location: Bandia Reserve, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Long-tailed Starlings

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 14th, 2009

Long-tailed starlingThe area around Mbodiene, Senegal, was an ornithologist’s dream: giant eagle owls, pelicans, weavers, terns, gonoleks, bulbuls, and lots and lots of long-tailed starlings, who often carried on singing through the night. We recorded this group of long-tailed starlings as we walked back to camp one afternoon.

Species: Lamprotornis caudatus
Common name: Long-tailed Starling
Date and time recorded: 16:04 local time, 30th August 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Python killing a chicken

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 14th, 2009

Python killing a chickenWith apologies to any more sensitive folk who may find this distressing, here’s a python (kept in captivity) killing a chicken at Le Thiossane camp, where we also recorded the pig, hyenas and jackals. At the beginning of the recording, you’ll hear the chicken – which had just been thrown into the enclosure – clucking away, oblivious to the nearby python. We were amazed at how quickly the python struck, and how quickly it was all over for the chicken. The photo was taken around half an hour later.

Date and time recorded: 14:33 local time, 3rd September 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Pig blowing bubbles

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 11th, 2009

OK, so it’s not exactly Chris Watson‘s snoring cheetah, but we’re fond of this recording, and we’re filing it with our wildlife sounds for want of a better category. This sow – living at the same camp as the hyenas and jackals we recorded – was trying to get scraps of food from the bottom of her trough, and blowing bubbles to stop the water getting up her snout…

Date and time recorded: 11:07 local time, 30th August 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Hyaena breakfast time

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 11th, 2009

Bottle feeding a hyaenaThese two ten month old, orphaned spotted hyaena pups (reared in captivity) were still being bottle fed, partly – a task which both they and Alain (the Frenchman raising them) seemed to love. Here, you can hear Alain feeding them breakfast – four or five bottles of milk each, slurped down in record time.

Species: Crocuta crocuta
Common name: Spotted Hyaena (Hyena)
Date and time recorded: 09:28 local time, 31st August 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Spotted hyaena contact call

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 11th, 2009

Spotted hyenaAs well as three jackals, Alain is raising two orphaned spotted hyaenas, now ten months old, which he is also hoping to release into a reserve one day soon. Raised almost entirely in captivity and accustomed to interacting with humans, it was amazing how much this pair resembled pet dogs in their behaviour – although their vocalisations, especially this contact call, were unmistakably hyaena-like.

Species: Crocuta crocuta
Common name: Spotted Hyaena (Hyena)
Date and time recorded: 13:18 local time, 30th August 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Jackals

audio, wildlife posted by on Sep 11th, 2009

These three jackals were hand reared by Frenchman Alain in Western Senegal after they were orphaned (he intends to release them into a reserve if/when possible). Their vocalisations were extremely diverse, including barking and the growling and spitting you’ll hear in this recording. They were especially vocal when the hyenas kept nearby started whining and when humans approached.

Date and time recorded: 17:23 local time, 30th August 2009
Location: Near Mbodiene, Senegal (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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