Name That (Bird) Tune

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 07.01.08
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Can you distinguish between the vocal gymnastics of a wood thrush and the virtuoso singing of a winter wren? Have you ever heard the bizarre bonks of a three-wattled bellbird? Test your knowledge of bird songs and calls, and learn what's behind their often astounding vocalizations.

Launch Interactive

Match eight different songs and calls to the correct birds, and learn how they master such precise pitch and phrasing.



(brown thrasher)
© Stephen Muskie/
(common loon)
© Paul Tessier/
(wood thrush)
© G. Bailey/VIREO
(northern mockingbird)
© Robin Arnold/
(alder flycatcher)
© R. & N. Bowers/VIREO
(three-wattled bellbird)
© Andrew Kratter
(barred owl)
© Frank Leung/
(winter wren)
© G. Bartley/VIREO


(brown thrasher)
Courtesy Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York
(all other audio tracks) from The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong by Donald Kroodsma
© 2005 by Donald Kroodsma. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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