CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Great Plains Toad  - Anaxyrus cognatus

(Say, 1822)

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

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 call of the Great Plains Toad is an explosive jackhammer-like metallic trill lasting from 5 seconds to almost a minute. It can be almost deafening when heard from a close distance.

Sound Sound
This is a 10 second unedited recording of a nocturnal advertisement call of a single male toad calling from a flooded field in Riverside County, California (shown below.)
This is a 41 second unedited recording of a nocturnal advertisement call of a male single toad calling from an agricultural drainage in Riverside County, California
(shown below.)
Great Plains Toad Habitat
Great Plains Toad Habitat
 
Sound Sound
This is an 18 second recording of a nocturnal chorus of a large group of toads calling from an irrigation pond in Riverside County, California (shown below.)
This is a very short recording of a single nocturnal advertisement call from one toad calling from a small pond in the grasslands of Cochise County, Arizona in August (shown below.) Insects can be heard in the background.
Great Plains Toad Habitat Great Plains Toad Habitat
 
Sound  
This is a 21 second recording of a nocturnal advertisement chorus of many Great PlainsToads, calling from a small pond in the grasslands of Cochise County, Arizona in August. Insects and bloodthirsty mosquitoes can be heard in the background.
 
 
Waveform and Sonogram
Sound waveform
This is a recording of one repetition of the advertisement call of a Great Plains Toad recorded at night in Riverside 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.


Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male toad or an unreceptive female toad when a male toad or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a toad's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"
Sound Sound
This is a 20 second recording of release calls of a toad (gender not known) that was being amplexed by a male toad at night in a flooded agricultural field in Riverside County, California.


This is a 6 second recording of release call of a male Great Plains toad in Cochise County, Arizona. The call was induced by grabbing the toad across the back.

Short Video
Great Plains Toad
Two male toads call at night from shallow pools at the edge of an irrigated agricultural
field in Riverside County. Other calling toads can be heard in the background.

You can listen to more recordings of Great Plains 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

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