If you’re the type of person who prefers non-human animals because they lack the traits that make us so incredibly obnoxious, I have bad news for you. The white bellbird is the loudest bird in the world, and, just like the loudest men in the bar, males insist on getting really fucking close to the females at whom they’re bellowing. Scientists have not figured out why this is, in either case.
It would be one thing if the sound the bellbird made was pleasant, but I shit you not, this is the most terrible noise I have ever heard emitted from a (non-human) creature. It sounds like the emergency broadcast alert test with none of the charm. Just a dull, mechanical buzzing sound, blasted at 116 decibels. What is this?! WHAT IS IT??
“It’s really, really distinctive and it’s unusual because it’s very simple. It’s one loud note, like a horn,” Jeffrey Podos, of the University of Massachusetts, tells New Scientist.
And if you have the poor luck of being a female bellbird, it’s aimed directly into your ear:
Joseph Tobias at Imperial College London speculates that the close proximity suggests the loudness of the song is a sexual signal.
“If females detect the loudest males from longer range, and find the loudest males most attractive at close range, then sexual selection would drive the evolution of extremely loud songs, up against the limits of physical performance constraints,” he says.
The bellbirds also have “great abs,” with “stomach muscles that are thickened and defined.” They’d really love to tell you about their workout regimen sometime, maybe over fruit at their nest? (Bellbirds only eat fruit, it’s a great diet that you probably haven’t heard of but should definitely try.) Oh, you don’t want to? That’s because you’re a cold-hearted shrew who can’t handle a real bird. Call when you don’t want to fuck around with pigeons anymore.