The white bellbird (Procnias albus) is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. It is the world’s loudest bird, producing vocalizations of up to 125.4 decibels. The specific epithet is often spelled alba, but albus is correct due to the masculine gender of "Procnias". It is found in forests in the Guianas, with small numbers in Venezuela and the Brazilian state of Pará, as well as Trinidad and Tobago and Panama. As in two other members of Procnias, the males have wattles, fleshy structures akin to the red skin flap that hangs from the throat of roosters.

White bellbird
Male at Carajás National Forest, State of Pará, Brazil.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cotingidae
Genus: Procnias
P. albus
Binomial name
Procnias albus
(Hermann, 1783)
Range of P. albus


A preserved specimen of a female white bellbird

The white bellbird grows to a length of about 28 cm (11 in). The male is pure white with a black bill that has a fleshy black wattle, sparsely feathered with white feathers, dangling from its top and hanging down the side, usually the right side; the female is an overall olive colour, with olive streaks on the yellowish underparts, and resembles other bellbirds. The male is unlikely to be mistaken for anything else, but the female resembles the bearded bellbird (Procnias averano); that bird has a dusky olive crown and black streaking on the throat.[2]

According to a study published in 2019, the white bellbird produces the loudest call ever recorded in a bird, reaching 125 dB(A) (at equivalent 1m distance).[3][4] The record was previously held by the screaming piha, which was recorded at 116 dB.[5]

Distribution and habitat


The range of the white bellbird includes parts of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. It occurs in moist tropical or subtropical forests.[6]

Behaviour and ecology




Although the white bellbird is an uncommon bird, its total population is estimated to be large. The population may be in slight decline because of deforestation, but not at a fast enough rate for it to be considered threatened, so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Procnias albus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22700957A93806627. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22700957A93806627.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Ridgely, Robert S.; Tudor, Guy (2009). Field Guide to the Songbirds of South America: Vol. II, The Suboscine Passerines. University of Texas Press. p. 762. ISBN 978-0-292-71748-0.
  3. ^ Jeffrey Podos; Mario Cohn-Haft (21 October 2019). "Extremely loud mating songs at close range in white bellbirds". Current Biology. 29 (20): R1068–R1069. Bibcode:2019CBio...29R1068P. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.028. PMID 31639347. S2CID 204823663.
  4. ^ "World's 'loudest bird': Meet the white bellbird". Newsbeat (video). BBC News. 22 October 2019.
  5. ^ NEMETH, ERWIN (1 January 2004). "Measuring the Sound Pressure Level of the Song of the Screaming Piha Lipaugus Vociferans: One of the Loudest Birds in the World?". Bioacoustics. 14 (3): 225–228. Bibcode:2004Bioac..14..225N. doi:10.1080/09524622.2004.9753527. ISSN 0952-4622. S2CID 84218370.
  6. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Procnias albus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22700957A93806627.en. Retrieved 22 December 2022.

Further reading