Mammals - Sounds of the Bush

These short recordings are of individual species – for listening pleasure and identification.


The rasping sawing call of a leopard is a regular nocturnal sound but often not known by many.


The honking call of the hippo is a characteristic sound of the rivers and other waterways in Africa.


A classic roar from a male lion, probably declaring his territory.

Spotted Hyaena

The loud, rather musical whooping call of the Spotted Hyaena is one of several sounds that can be heard in the African bush during the night. It is a long-distance contact call used to announce their presence when they are out of visual contact.


Unlike the other large cats, the Cheetah does nor roar, instead giving a series of high-pitched chirps, in this case a contact call given by a family group calling for a missing cub that wandered off during the night.

Chacma Baboon

A troop of Chacma Baboons reacting to the presence of a predator, the dominant males giving loud barks. Various birds are also reacting in the background adding to the alarm chorus.

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu, like many other antelope, are mainly silent unless alarmed. They favour woodland thickets and rely on their cryptic colours and markings and will generally freeze when they sense a threat while they assess the situation. Should they detect a movement they will then give a very loud, deep, low-frequency bark that has the ability to travel some distance through the dense vegetation. This bark has the distinction of being be the loudest vocalisation of all the antelope.

Kudu horns are used as musical instruments all over Africa. Many years ago we were able to attend a ceremony in the Mahenye village on the edge of Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe where the lead musician played his kudu horn like a trumpet. A brief clip of this performance (kudu horn and drums) follows the alarm call of the Greater Kudu.

Blue Wildebeest

Unlike the Greater Kudu, Blue Wildebeest are quite vocal. They are sometimes called Gnu, and this name comes from the territorial call of males advertising their status, a metallic ‘’Gnuu”. In this clip other members of the herd are making moaning sounds as they feed or snorting loudly as something alarms one of them.

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