Orangutan Sounds & Calls
Although not as vocal as other great apes, orangutans make a variety of different sounds. Adult male orangutans make what is referred to as a ‘long call‘, a sequence which usually starts with a few softer barking notes, then changes into a long series of heaving roars which gradually lower in frequency and taper off into bubbly drawn-out groans. It is thought these ‘long calls’ serve not only to attract females, but also to identify individuals and the context of the caller. It has been suggested that the directionality of this particular call-type is aided by the male’s cheek flanges. Also, adult males have a large air sac which acts as a resonator, enabling these deep, throaty sounds to carry long distances through the rainforest.
Listen to calls of the Orangutan
DVO1a This video features a typical ‘long call’ with several single barking notes at the beginning. This is the same male as in the following audio sample, recorded around 3am in the Danum, Valley, Sabah, Malaysia.
DVO1b This recording is an example of a typical ‘long call’ of an adult male Bornean Orangutan. This sample was recorded an hour later than the previous recording, at around 4am in the Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia.
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