Have you heard a frog calling from your back yard? Did you hear a call coming from the grass along the riverbank while on a walk?
There are 32 tree frog species in the United States. Continue reading to help you identify which tree frog sound you are hearing or heard.
How Do Tree Frogs Make Noise
Tree frogs are able to make sound by allowing airflow to go via the lungs, past the larynx, and into the mouth, causing the vocal cords to osculate. The vocal muscles can make up fifteen percent of a frog’s body mass.
The sound is made from air sacs, which are located just below the mouth. You can see these sacs inflating and deflating as the frog makes a sound.
The air from the lungs is channeled into their air sacs, making the sound louder.
These frogs produce two types of cells that scientists focus on they are used when making mating and releasing calls.
When the male and female are mating, the male produced what is known as a release call. Their body walls contract, causing the inter pulmonary pressure to increase. The glottis opens to allow airflow to pass via the larynx and then the vocal cords oppose each other, as a result, the airflow causes the vocal cords to vibrate.
Why Do Tree Frogs Make Noise
Frogs can make sound for a number of reasons, they are not only used for attracting a mate. They are known to make warning, release and distress sound, along with territorial sound.
Male frogs are known to make territorial calls to inform other frogs that there is their territory, encouraging any intruders to move away.
These often sound more like a groan and differ from the mating call.
The aim is to ensure other frogs know their presence.
Distress calls are awful and dramatic sounds that are made by a tree frog when it is attacked by predators.
They are almost like a high-pitched scream, startling the predator, which can result in the predator releasing the frog, giving it a chance to escape. These sounds are distressing to hear and a sign of panic.
Warning sounds are used when the tree frog is disturbed or startled. It sounds like a short squawk or grunt, made as the frog jumps away. This often alerts other frogs in the area that there could be a danger.
The sounds are similar to what humans make when you get a surprise, an exclamation noise.
Release sounds are the noise a tree frog makes if it is grabbed by another frog while searching for a mate.
When frogs are unsuccessful at finding a mate, they often grab and hold onto any frogs that move past them. Release calls are used by male frogs, females that have already mated, and different species frogs to let the frog known that he is wasting his time.
This sound is similar to a chicken clucking, which is also made by tree frogs if you hold them too tight.
Only male frogs make territorial and mating calls, while males and females can make distress, warning and release calls.
Tree Frog Sound
1. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog Sound
The Blanchard’s cricket frog (Acris blanchardi) has a call that sounds like marbles knocking together. It is fast pulses, similar to that of a cricket.
The male Blanchard’s cricket frog calls when it’s breeding season. Being nocturnal, males call in the evenings and during the night. They get together in small groups and can be found in wetlands and ponds.
2. Northern Cricket Frog Sound
The Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) has a call that sounds more like pebbles being knocked together. The sound is similar to a “glick, glick”. They call from April to August and can be active during both the day and night.
These frogs can be found calling along river banks, streams, and marshes.
The male Northern Cricket Frog calls to attract a mate.
3. Southern Cricket Frog Sound
The Southern cricket frog or southeastern cricket frog (Acris gryllus) is very similar to the Northern cricket frog, except it’s call has a more metallic sound.
These frogs call during mating season with males calling to attract a mate.
They can be found in marshes, along riverbanks, and on the sides of streams.
4. Pine Barrens Tree Frog Sound
Male Pine Barrens tree frogs (Dryophytes andersonii) call to attract a mate. The call is very nasal in sound and resembles a “honk.” The call is repeated quickly for up to twenty pulses at infrequent intervals.
These frogs call from the ground or vegetation close to the water surface.
Males call from April through to September. They can be found in sandhills and pine forests in North Carolina.
They are nocturnal and very seldom seen with most sightings being during the breeding season.
5. Canyon Tree Frog Sound
Canyon tree frogs (Dryophytes arenicolor) are loud, considering their small size. They have a fast-pulsed call that you will hear mostly at night.
The males get together in groups and call from the edge of rocky creeks throughout Arizona.
These frogs are mostly nocturnal, though it’s not uncommon to hear a Canyon Tree Frog calling during the day in response to thunder or another loud noise.
6. Bird-voiced Tree Frog Sound
The bird-voiced tree frog (Dryophytes avivoca) has a very beautiful call, similar to that of a bird. It’s high pitched and can often be heard in swampy areas, close to rivers and streams.
Males can be found high up in trees close to water. In some cases, males will hide in shrubs or a base of a tree trunk close to water.
While these frogs are nocturnal, it’s not unusual to hear their calls in the forest during the day.
7. Eastern Gray Tree Frog Sound
The eastern gray tree frog (Dryophytes versicolor) has a melodious sound that lasts half a second and is repeated every couple of seconds.
Their trill pulse is half of the Cope’s Gray Tree Frog.
They also give off a weep or squeaky chirp when having an aggressive encounter with another male.
These frogs live in forest areas and prefer being in trees. These frogs very seldom come down from tree tops except for breeding season.
They are solitary amphibians, and males don’t get together in large choruses, but they do vocalize competitively against other males to attract a mate.
8. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog Sound
Cope’s gray tree frog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) has a very melodious call that lasts for about half a second and is repeated every few seconds. It has trill pulse rate.
Males call during the breeding season, which is from April to July.
They hide in vegetation close to ponds and then call to attract females.
The males are very aggressive and territorial and they will make sounds when they encounter another male, which sounds more like a weep or squeaky chirp.
9. American Green Tree Frog Sound
The American green tree frog (Dryophytes cinereus) has a very abrupt bark or honk when it calls. The call can be repeated up to 75 times per minute. It sounds like a loud bell.
Males call to attract females and can be found in vegetation and grasses close to ponds, lakes, streams, and marshes. It’s not uncommon to find these frogs in the back yard or even in your swimming pool.
They are nocturnal, so you are more likely to hear these frogs calling at night.
10. Pine Woods Tree Frog Sound
The pine woods tree frog (Dryophytes femoralis) has a distinctive machine-like call, which sounds similar to Morse code.
The males will call from the vegetation close to shallow water in the evenings and at night from March through to October.
These frogs live in the pine forests and flat woods in the Coastal Plain, along with cypress swamps, and are known for climbing tall trees.
11. Barking Tree Frog Sound
The barking tree frog (Dryophytes gratiosus) when in a chorus of males can sound like a pack of dogs barking, hence the name.
The male’s croak is a single bark which is given every few seconds.
The barking can be heard from April through to September in permanent and semi-permanent wetlands.
Unlike other tree frogs in the United States, the Barking Tree Frog calls from the water’s surface and not from nearby vegetation.
12. Squirrel Tree Frog Sound
The Squirrel Tree Frog (Dryophytes squirellus) has a breeding call that sounds like a nasal duck, which can be heard from March to October.
The aim of this call is to attract a female mate. They can also be heard during or just after rain when they give a noise which is similar to a squirrel chattering.
These frogs are native to the Coastal Plain of Southeast US, where their chosen habitat is moisture filled areas, such as the edge of swaps, lakes, streams, and marshes.
They can be found in trees, bushes, vines, shrubs, gardens, and under logs.
While they are nocturnal amphibians, the Squirrel Tree frog can be seen during the day foraging for insects after the rains.
13. Arizona Tree Frog Sound
The Arizona tree frog (Dryophytes wrightorum) gives a call that is the most well-known frog call. The male makes the sound during breeding season to attract a female, but they also call when defending their site, keeping other males away.
They call from the vegetation around water, where they breed and females lay the egg. Calls are heard in the evenings and at night and are loud, metallic calls, which sound like the frog is calling from inside a tin.
14. California Tree Frog Sound
The male California tree frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) has a trilling call that is used when other males come to close.
The males are aggressive against each other and will produce an encounter call when face to face with another male.
Their breeding call is different and is loud and squeaky. It’s best described as a duck-like quack that is low pitched, ending abruptly and repeated often.
These frogs can be heard calling from along streams and quiet pools in Santa Monica.
15. Pacific Tree Frog Sound
The Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla) has a number of different calls including their calling for a mate, or “advertising call”.
The call made during breeding season is a “ribbit” noise, while they have a “crek-ek” encounter or warming call, which is a trill call.
They also have a dry land call, which is a long cree-ee-eeek sound, which can be heard throughout the year except when really cold and dry.
These frogs are the most common frog you will hear in the West Coast of the US.
These frogs can be found in streams, lakes, and ponds. It prefers woodlands, pastureland, and back yards.
They start their mating season in winter to early spring. The males using a choral song, which has then calling as loudly as possible, making it sound like it’s coming from multiple males.
16. Cuban Tree Frog Sound
The Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) has a very high pitched, loud and fast pulsed call that can be heard from the shrubs and trees around houses, fish ponds, and patios.
Their breeding season is from May to October and that is when you will hear their variable pitched call, which is similar to the sound of grating stone.
These are nocturnal frogs and they will stop calling once a female approaches.
17. Mountain Chorus Frog Sound
You can hear the mountain chorus frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) calling from February through to April in North Carolina.
They make a very raspy wreenk noise, which is high pitched and fast. They prefer shallow ponds, ditches, and grasses.
These nocturnal frogs can be heard in the late evening and at night as they call to attract a mate.
18. Brimley’s Chorus Frog Sound
Brimley’s chorus frogs (Pseudacris brimleyi) breed from December through to April, so you are more likely to hear them during these months.
Their call is trill, short and raspy, and can be heard from the vegetation surrounding marshes, swamps, roadside ditches, and floodplains.
They can be found in the Coastal Plain.
19. Spotted Chorus Frog Sound
The Spotted Chorus Frog (Pseudacris clarkii) has a call that sounds like someone running their finger over the teeth of a comb.
The call is to attract a female with males calling as loudly as possible while remaining hidden under vegetation close to freshwater where breeding and egg-laying can take place.
These are nocturnal amphibians and are heard mostly in the evenings and at night.
20. Spring Peeper Sound
Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) make sure you know they are there after the hot summer months.
You will seldom see one of these frogs during summer and they are most common from November to April when there are warm rain and overcast days.
They make a very high-pitched peep, which is similar to a whistle and can be heard for miles. They make large choruses which makes them sound similar to sleigh bells.
You can hear and see these frogs in woodlands, and swamps.
21. Upland Chorus Frog Sound
The Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum) calls in winter and early spring where they sound like a repeated crreeek, similar to that of fingers running over the teeth of a comb.
They are found in Piedmont and Coastal Plain and the Mountains.
They are rarely seen outside of their breeding season.
They can be seen in weedy meadows, swamps and woodlands.
22. Cajun Chorus Frog Sound
The Cajun chorus frog (Pseudacris fouquettei) sounds like a fingernail on the teeth of a comb. They have an ascending trill with the rate of their call increasing as the temperatures rise.
These frogs can be found in forests and grasslands where they call from grassy areas, grassy ponds, and the edge of marshes.
It’s not easy to find them when they are calling, they hide deep in the grass. The only thing that may assist you in locating the frog is their vocal sac moving as they call.
23. Illinois Chorus Frog Sound
The Illinois chorus frog (Pseudacris illinoensis) gives off a call that sounds like high pitches whistles which are given off in series.
You can usually hear the calls during February to April.
These frogs live mostly underground and only come out for breeding season. You can find them in wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural areas.
24. New Jersey Chorus Frog Sound
The New Jersey chorus frog (Pseudacris kalmia) will call day and night. They have a vibrant “crrreek” sound which is given by the male during mating season. The sound speeds up near the end.
You can hear the New Jersey Chorus Frog from February to April and they can be heard and found close to shallow water.
25. Boreal Chorus Frog Sound
The boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata) vies off a short and raspy noise that lasts around two seconds. The sound is similar to running a finger along with the teeth of a comb.
They prefer permanent water bodies in forests and cleared land areas. The males hide in the vegetation close to the water to call from April to September.
What makes these frogs unique is that each individual frog has its own series of pulses. Some are able to control the direction of their call.
The Boreal Chorus Frog is usually one of the first to come out in the spring, sometimes coming out too early and being seen in the snow.
26. Southern Chorus Frog Sound
The southern chorus frog (Pseudacris nigrita) calls from January to March. Males call to attract a female using a sound that is trill, rasping and mechanical, often described as a ratchet type wrench sound.
These frogs live in pine flat woods, forested wetlands, wet meadows, and roadside ditches in the Coastal Plain.
Males will call loudly to ensure that they are heard by many females, drawing them to their water site.
27. Little Grass Frog Sound
The little grass frog (Pseudacris ocularis) has a high pitched, tinkle call that runs from January to September. They can often be heard throughout the year.
The call is so high pitched. It’s not uncommon for some people not to hear it at all.
They can be found in grassy areas, such as ponds and wetlands.
These small nocturnal amphibians have a very long breeding season, which is why it’s not uncommon to hear their call on a cool or warm evening.
28. Ornate Chorus Frog Sound
Ornate chorus frogs (Pseudacris ornata) make a metallic sound that is sharp and repeated over and over.
They are only found in the Coastal Plain of Southeastern United States and live in wooded habitats, where they breed in temporary water areas, such as pools and ditches.
It is very uncommon to see one of these frogs outside of their breeding season, which is during the winter months from November to March.
They are nocturnal and can be spotted on wet winter nights.
29. Strecker’s Chorus Frog Sound
Only a male Strecker’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris streckeri) will make a call. This is done during breeding season to attract a female. They also use their voice to warn other males that may come into their territory.
Their call is a single belt note that is repeated quickly over and over. A large chorus can sound similar to a squeaky wheel.
The Strecker’s Chorus Frog will be heard and seen in woodlands, cultivated fields and other sandy areas, while breeding will take place in flooded ditches, fields, and temporary ponds.
30. Midland Chorus Frog Sound
The midland chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata) is usually the first sound to say that spring is on its way.
They give off a high-pitched trill which can be heard coming from shallow pools and meadows after the first sign that spring is on the way.
Males will call on sunny afternoons from January with choruses growing louder as the season progresses.
These frogs can be heard day and night. They all sound like a fingernail being run over the teeth of a comb. When the weather is cold their call is slower.
31. Common Mexican Tree Frog Sound
The common Mexican tree frog (Smilisca baudinii) has a short call which is medium pitched and has some chuckles added in. They repeat the notes up to twelve times over a three second period.
These nocturnal frogs can be heard calling along riverbanks, swamps, and marshes as they call loudly to attract a female and lure her to their chosen water site.
32. Northern Casquehead Frog Sound
The northern casquehead frog or lowland burrowing tree frog (Smilisca fodiens) has a low pitched and loud quack or honk noise that doesn’t rise and is repeated a few times per second.
They are often found in grasslands, forests, and temporary pools. The males call mostly at night to attract a mate. Once a female approaches, he will stop calling.