Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Sam Dean

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Adult: True to its name, Whistling Heron has high pitched vocalizations, variously described as "a high kee-kee-kee ca,, rapidly repeated, quite unlike the calls of other herons" (Friedmann and Smith 1950); as "a clear, loud, melodious whistle, about 1-1.5 sec long and often repeated in a series of 2-5 calls ca. 0.5 sec apart" (Kahl 1971); as a "high, throaty whistle of three long, identical notes" (Belton 1984); and as "a high, reedy, complaining whistle, often doubled or uttered in a ser[ies], wueeee, wueeee, ..." (Hilty 2003). This call is given both in flight and when perched; in calling, even in flight, the neck is extended and the bill held open (Kahl 1971, Belton 1984).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

Young: Hisses (Kushlan and Hancock 2005).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Whistling Heron can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Dean, S. (2012). Whistling Heron (Syrigma sibilatrix), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.