CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Arizona Toad - Anaxyrus microscaphus

(Cope, 1866)

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





Arizona Toad
Male toad in calling position.


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 Arizona Toad is a loud, fast high-pitched trill, averaging 5.7 seconds long, rising in pitch, and ending abruptly. Calls are made at night.

Sound Sound
This is a 7 second recording of the advertisement call of a male Arizona Toad calling at night from a sandbar at the confluence of a still small creek and a flowing river in Washington County, Utah (shown below.) In the background are Canyon Treefrog calls and the sounds of the river. This is a 52 second unedited recording of the advertisement calls of several male Arizona Toads calling at night from a sandbar at the confluence of a still small creek and a flowing river in Washington County, Utah (shown below.) The river can be heard in the background.
Arizona Toad Habitat



Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male toad or an unreceptive female toad when a toad or other animal (including a human hand) grabs it across the back. It's a toad's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

Sound Sound
This is an 8 second recording of the release calls of an Arizona Toad. This is a 9 second recording of the release calls of an Arizona Toad.


Waveform and Sonogram
Sound sonogram

This a visual representation of the 7 second male advertisement call heard above.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.
Short Videos
Arizona Toads Arizona Toad Arizona Toad
Several male Arizona Toads calling and interacting at night at the edge of a small creek next to a river in Washington County, Utah, including two examples of a male attempting amplexus with another male who then makes release calls. Canyon Treefrogs can be heard in the background.
A short example of a male calling at night. A male gives a release call when he is picked up.

You can listen to more recordings of Arizona 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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