Ornithological Note 139

Notes on the vocalizations of Ochraceous Attila (Attila torridus) and Cinnamon Attila (Attila cinnamomeus)

Peter F. D. Boesman April 21, 2016
Section(s): Voice, Systematics

In the following we briefly analyze and compare voice of Ochraceous Attila (Attila torridus) and Cinnamon Attila (Attila cinnamomeus). We also try to quantify the extent of any vocal differences using the criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010), as a support for taxonomic review. We have made use of sound recordings available on-line from Xeno Canto (XC).

Like most members of the genus Attila, song is a series of rising whistles. Often, a sequence of song phrases starts with short phrases gradually expanding to the full song phrase. We have analyzed only what we considered full song phrases. The main call at the other hand usually is a drawn-out whistle. Other vocalisations were not examined.

A. torridus

Song is a series of whistles rising in pitch and ending with a lower pitched note immediately followed by a very short sharper high-pitched note.

                total length                           3.23-6.73s

                # of notes                             7-11

                longest note                         0.25-0.40s

                max. freq.                             2560-2850Hz

                lowest max. freq.                 1820-2100Hz

                freq. range                           1820-2100Hz

                shortest note                       0.11-0.14s

                longest space                       0.32-0.84s

Main call is an overslurred whistle "weeew"

                total length                           0.43-0.94s

                min freq.                               1400-1580Hz

                max. freq.                             2200-2350Hz

A. cinnamomeus

Song is a series of whistles rising in pitch, the last note not lower in pitch (unlike most other Attila's).

                total length                           2.7-4.3s

                # of notes                             4-5

                longest note                         0.46-0.63s

                max. freq.                             2450-3000Hz

                lowest max. freq.                 1720-2180Hz

                freq. range                           900-1200Hz

                shortest note                       0.37-0.44s

                longest space                       0.24-0.71s

Call is a bisyllabic whistle, starting with a hiccup then gradually descending in pitch "ki-wheeeuu"

            total length                           1.0-1.26s

                min freq.                               1470-1660Hz

                max. freq.                             1990-2570Hz

While song is structurally similar, there are clear differences: Song phrase of A. torridus has more notes (score 2) which are shorter (score 3), has a larger frequency range (score 3) and ends with a short note unlike cinnamomeus. Call of A. torridus also quite different, a shorter overslurred whistle (score 2). When applying Tobias criteria, this leads to a total vocal score of 6.



This note was finalized on 16th July 2015, using sound recordings available on-line at that moment. We would like to thank in particular the many sound recordists who placed their recordings for this species on XC.



Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. (2010). Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152(4): 724–746.

More Information: on139_ochraceous_and_cinnamon_attila.pdf 

Recommended Citation

Boesman, P. (2016). Notes on the vocalizations of Ochraceous Attila (Attila torridus) and Cinnamon Attila (Attila cinnamomeus). HBW Alive Ornithological Note 139. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100139