Habitat Soundscapes

Explore biodiversity in sound

Listen below to examples of six different habitat soundscapes.

1. Rainforests

Tropical rainforests are pulsing with life and have some of the richest natural soundscapes on the planet. This recording from one of Borneo’s lowland rainforest features the incredibly powerful sounds of Empress cicadas, along with the melodic song of the White-rumped Shama, and the rhythmic ‘ te-hoop ‘calls of Golden-whiskered Barbets. This track is a sample from the album ‘Rhythm of Kubah‘.

2. Temperate Forests

Temperate forests include coniferous forests & and broadleaved forests and can be found in Europe, North America, Asia and also in the southern hemisphere. While not at biologically diverse as tropical rainforests, the soundscapes from temperate forests can still be rich and varied, especially in the spring season. The following sample was recorded in the grassy forests of western Thailand in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, and includes the calls of Black-hooded Oriole, Green Peafowl, Asiatic Jackal and many other species. This recording was taken from the album ‘Forest of Life‘.

2. Arid Regions

Deserts and arid shrublands may appear lifeless at times, but in reality they are vibrant eco-systems with many specialized plants and animals perfectly adapted to their harsh environment. Each day, a hint of the biodiversity of these habitats is revealed by the dawn chorus of birdsong. Here’s an example of dry mallee habitat in southern Australia coming to life at first light – from the album ‘Mallee Dawn‘.

4. Mountains

Mountain habitats range from evergreen hill forests at lower elevations to barren shrubberies and rocky peaks at high-altitude. Many plants and animals are suited to specific altitudinal ranges and those that are mobile enough such as birds often migrate seasonally. This sample was recorded in Nepal’s Langtang region in early spring, in a stunted forest of rhododendron with a few scattered conifers. Taken from the album ‘Himalayan Dawn‘.

5. Rivers

In terms of soundscapes, rivers mostly take on the sound of the habitat they flow through. But they add at least two special elements – the sound of water and the sound of creatures which depend on that water. In this recording of a rushing stream in the mountains of Java, Indonesia you can hear the sounds of the surrounding forest as well as frogs living in the riverside undergrowth. Taken from the album ‘Mountain Stream‘.

6. Coasts

Coastal habitats stretch across the planet, from the icy shores of the arctic regions to forest-lined tropical beaches. In many coastal soundscapes, the sound of moving water is a constant feature and varies from the powerful roar of heavy surf to the delicate pops, clicks and splashes of a rockpool at low tide. The following recording of waves on a beach was made at midnight in Royal National Park, Australia.