Amphibians - Sounds of the African Bush
These short recordings are of individual species – for listening pleasure and identification.
A common resident in low-lying east and southern African emerging from their hide-aways in the soil during the rains to breed. The call is a series of loud, deep “whoomp” sounds.
Broad-banded Grass Frog
A fairly large frog occurring in a variety of woodland and grassland habitats. It calls from grasses on the edge of waterbodies, the males giving a loud series of duck-like quacks. In this clip many African Bullfrogs call in competition, loud “whoomp” calls given over and over.
Eastern Olive Toad
The Eastern Olive Toad is a large frog (up to 100mm in length) widely distributed throughout Africa’s savanna regions. It is a thickset toad with dry, warty skin, dark patches on the upperparts, white underparts and obvious parotid glands on either side of their necks which secrete a toxic substance when the toads are stressed.
During the day they can be found some distance from waterbodies, hiding under logs, rocks and vegetation, and are often seen sheltering around houses. Once the rains begin, they move to water where males gather and begin to call from the edges of the various water bodies, often forming loud choruses. The deep, guttural sound becomes quite deafening when males gather at fishponds in gardens and other areas. Having established themselves at a fishpond or a suitable safe site in the garden during the day, the males will remain close to their call site, and there are many stories of homeowners collecting them from the ponds and relocating them some distance away, only to find the frogs back at the pond a few days later.
Painted Reed Frog
This attractive little frog has a widespread distribution in Southern Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. As adults they occur in a variety of bright colours and patterns whereas juveniles are generally brown with faint markings along the sides. During the day they spend much of their time sitting quietly on the vegetation along the edges of ponds and other waterbodies and in the heat of the day, particularly during the dry season, they have the ability to turn white in order to reflect sunlight. The large toe pads help them to climb up the reeds and other tall vegetation.
At dusk they become active, and the males begin to call. The call is incredibly loud, a high-pitched, piercing whistle that can be quite deafening if you are standing close to several little frogs. If seen close up when calling, it is possible to see the huge vocal sac that helps amplify the call. Researchers have shown that individual males will return to the same calling site each evening and females will generally choose to mate with the male with the loudest call.
Their ability to make enormous leaps plays an important role in protecting them from predators and the red skin on the inside of the legs, normally only seen when the frog jumps, serves as an anti-predator strategy as it is thought to distract the attention of predator who loses sight of the frog when it comes to rest and the bright thighs are hidden away.
This tiny frog favours moist areas with well vegetated pans and vleis from which to call during the summer rains. Calling may begin in the late afternoon and continue well into the night, a loud “quoip” given at regular intervals. In this clip a Dwarf Puddle Frog gives its low buzzing call in the background.
Foam Nest Frog
A common resident in savanna woodland often seen seen perched on branches close to water and in houses and other buildings during the non-breeding season. The call is a mixture of croaks and strange squeaks.
Banded Rubber Frog
This frog prefers to walk instead of hopping. When it is disturbed it produces a milky skin secretion, and this substance is toxic to other frog species and may cause a skin irritation in humans if handled for some time.
The loud high-pitched “pirrrrrrrrrr” call can be heard from some distance and is repeated every 4-5 seconds during the breeding season.
Bushveld Rain Frog
This is another species of frog that walks instead of hopping – not surprising when you look at its body shape. This shape is not conducive to mating particularly as the male is much smaller than the female. They overcome this problem with the female releasing a sticky substance from her skin and the male literally glues himself to the back of the female while mating. When it is over the female secretes another compound that releases the male.
The call is a series of short, sharp chirps.