Sambar Deer
Sounds & Calls

Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)
Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor), Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

The Sambar (Rusa unicolor) is one of the world’s largest deer species and is found throughout south-east Asia & the Indian subcontinent. They frequent a wide variety of habitat-types but are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to hunting pressure and habitat encroachment. Sambar are an important prey species for the Tiger (Panthera tigris).

What does a sambar deer sound like? Sambar often make loud alarm calls when they sense danger. These calls vary somewhat from a deep booming ‘pooking’ sound to higher-pitched variations, perhaps depending on the sex and size of the individual. Alarm barks are often accompanied by foot stamping. Rutting stags have been recorded making occasional bellowing sounds although this species is much less vocal than other large deer species during the rut.

Listen to Sambar Deer Sounds

This video features a typical example of a Sambar Deer alarm call. Recorded at night in Thungyai Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. The calls of Sambar I have heard in this region sound higher-pitched than those from the Indian subcontinent. 


Sambar Deer – Alarm Call

 B19 The following audio sample is another example of a Sambar alarm call. This cut was recorded at night in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand.

In the soundscape recording below, you can hear a few examples of deeper alarm calls from a Sambar in the background. For example, at 0:24, 1:14, 1:17 & 1:25. Repeated alarm calls like this often indicate the presence of a large predator such as Tiger or Leopard. This recording was made in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor) in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. This individual has the ‘sore spot’ on the lower neck which is unique to this deer species. It is thought that this area of the neck exudes a fluid during rutting season and causes this phenomena.