CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Arroyo Toad - Anaxyrus californicus

(Camp, 1915)

(= Bufo californicus)
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.






arroyo toad habitat
Male calling at night

Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.


Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.


The advertisement call of the Arroyo Toad is a fast musical trill, about 10 seconds, rising in pitch, and ending abruptly. Males call at night from shallow pools of slow-moving streams. Calling is not dependant on rainfall. This call is similar to that of Bufo punctatus - Red-spotted Toad, but with a lower pitch.

Sound Sound
This is a 2 minute and 10 second edited recording of a series of advertisement calls of a male Arroyo Toad calling at night in a riparian canyon on the desert slope of the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County (shown below.) The original calls were averaging 30 seconds apart. Here they have been cut to about 10 seconds apart, Running water, insects, and Pacific Treefrogs are heard in the background. This is a 4 second recording of the advertisement call of a male Arroyo Toad calling at night in Santa Barbara County, recorded by Carlos Davidson and used here with his permission.
arroyo toad habitat  
 
Sound Sound
This is a 50 second recording of a series of advertisement calls of a distant male Arroyo Toad calling at night in a riparian canyon in San Diego County (shown below.) Continous calls of crickets and of Pseudacris regilla - Pacific Treefrogs, and occasional calls of Pseudacris cadaverina - California Treefrogs, are heard in the foreground, while in the background are running water, the calls of a Common Poorwill, and the faint call of a Great Horned Owl near the end of the recording.
This is an 8 second recording of the advertisement call of a distant male Arroyo Toad calling at night in a riparian canyon in San Diego County (shown below.) Crickets and Pseudacris regilla - Pacific Treefrogs are heard in the foreground.

arroyo toad habitat  
Waveform and Sonogram
Sound sonogram
This is a recording of one repetition of the advertisement call of an Arroyo Toad recorded at night in San Bernardino County.

The image on the right is a visual representation of this call.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.
Short Video
  arroyo toad habitat  
  A male Arroyo Toad calls three times at night from the edge of a creek in San Bernardino County. The video has been edited - the original calls were about a minute apart.  

You can listen to more recordings of Arroyo Toads on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover

You can also listen to this toad at AmphibiaWeb.

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