Virginia Rails, Clapper Rails, Soras, Moorhens, Bitterns and sometimes Coots like to perform this act, which I call a synchophony. This happens fairly frequently when something disturbs the peace of the marsh and several birds call in response at once. In this sample a Great Blue Heron circles over and calls, and first a Bittern or Rail, then two Soras, another Virginia and finally another Sora join in the "synchophony". I have recorded instances when a barking dog, an airplane, and other rails have set off the phenomenon. I'm not sure what purpose this [chorus] serves, but it occupies a significant amount of my thinking time. It's most probably a general alarm in the marsh - A Great Blue, a dog and an overhead airplane might all be considered risks if you're a rail - and note that the participants are generally Rail-family birds or birds with rail-y behavior, who are used to communicating primarily vocally (they can't see each other in the marsh).
Douglas Von Gausig (recordist; copyright holder), Naturesongs.com
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
To cite this page: Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2014. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed at http://animaldiversity.org.
Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.