Frogs of Southern Africa
Calls | Copyright | Spectrograms


Frogs are more often heard than seen, and calling is critically important for their survival. Calls serve four mating purposes and different sounds are produced for each: to attract females of the same species to a breeding site, to separate males from one another, to signal release from amplexus (mating), and to alarm and discourage predators.

Frog calls are closely associated with the annual breeding cycle and they are a positive sign of the advent of spring in summer-rainfall areas, where breeding usually takes place after the first thunderstorms. In winter-rainfall areas of the Western Cape, most species mate at the end of winter when ponds and streams are full and the landscape is saturated.

The duration of a mating season may vary considerably and in warmer and wetter climates, calling and breeding continue for periods of up to nine months of the year. In regions with erratic rainfall, frogs need to exploit opportunities as they arise; the species that do so often use temporary water bodies, where they gather in large numbers to call, mate and lay eggs in a short period, sometimes in only a single day.

Listening to frog calls is one of the most reliable ways of identifying a species when out in nature. The new edition of Frogs of Southern Africa: A Complete Guide features the calls of 156 of the 169 species found in the region. The calls can be accessed by means of QR codes printed in the book, allowing for the recordings to be played instantly while reading about each species. To read the codes, you will need a smartphone or tablet, along with a QR Code Reader downloaded from the Google Play or App stores.

You can also listen to the calls and download them here - either as single files or in one go as a zip file. The calls are saved as mp3 files and can be played on mp3-compatible equipment or devices.

01 Shovel-footed Squeaker (Arthroleptis stenodactylus)
02 Chimanimani Squeaker (Arthroleptis troglodytes)
03 Bush Squeaker (Arthroleptis wahlbergii)
04 Dwarf Squeaker (Arthroleptis xenodactyloides)
05 Bocage's Tree Frog (Leptopelis bocagi)
06 Broadley's Tree Frog (Leptopelis broadleyi)
07 Yellow-spotted Tree Frog (Leptopelis flavomaculatus)
08 Brown-backed Tree Frog (Leptopelis mossambicus)
09 Natal Tree Frog (Leptopelis natalensis)
10 Long-toed Tree Frog (Leptopelis xenodactylus)
11 Strawberry Rain Frog (Breviceps acutirostris)
12 Bushveld Rain Frog (Breviceps adspersus adspersus)
13 Bushveld Rain Frog (Breviceps adspersus pentheri)
14 Bilbo's Rain Frog (Breviceps bagginsi)
15 Branch's Rain Frog (Breviceps branchi)
16 Phinda Rain Frog (Breviceps carruthersi)
17 Plain Rain Frog (Breviceps fuscus)
18 Cape Rain Frog (Breviceps gibbosus)
19 Desert Rain Frog (Breviceps macrops)
20 Cape Mountain Rain Frog (Breviceps montanus)
21 Mozambique Rain Frog (Breviceps mossambicus)
22 Namaqua Rain Frog (Breviceps namaquensis)
23 Ndumo Rain Frog (Breviceps passmorei)
24 Power's Rain Frog (Breviceps poweri)
25 Sand Rain Frog (Breviceps rosei rosei)
26 Sand Rain Frog (Breviceps rosei vansoni)
27 Whistling Rain Frog (Breviceps sopranus)
28 Northern Forest Rain Frog (Breviceps sylvestris sylvestris)
29 Northern Forest Rain Frog (Breviceps sylvestris taeniatus)
30 Plaintive Rain Frog (Breviceps verrucosus)
31 Highland Forest Rain Frog (Probreviceps rhodesianus)
32 Deception Peak Mountain Toadlet (Capensibufo deceptus)
33 Landdroskop Mountain Toadlet (Capensibufo magistratus)
34 Rose's Mountain Toadlet (Capensibufo rosei)
Frog does not call
35 Moonlight Mountain Toadlet (Capensibufo selenophos)
36 Tradouw Mountain Toadlet (Capensibufo tradouwi)
37 Chirinda Toad (Mertensophryne anotis)
38 Beira Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus beiranus)
39 Damaraland Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus damaranus)
40 Dombe Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus dombensis)
41 Northern Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus fenoulheti)
42 Hoesch's Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus hoeschi)
43 Kavango Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus kavangensis)
44 Southern Pygmy Toad (Poyntonophrynus vertebralis)
45 Red Toad (Schismaderma carens)
46 Raucous Toad (Sclerophrys capensis)
47 Eastern Olive Toad (Sclerophrys garmani)
48 Guttural Toad (Sclerophrys gutturalis)
49 Lemaire's Toad (Sclerophrys lamairii)
50 Western Leopard Toad (Sclerophrys pantherina)
51 Eastern Leopard Toad (Sclerophrys pardalis)
52 Western Olive Toad (Sclerophrys poweri)
53 Flat-backed Toad (Sclerophrys pusilla)
54 Amatola Toad (Vandijkophrynus amatolicus)
55 Cape Sand Toad (Vandijkophrynus angusticeps)
56 Karoo Toad (Vandijkophrynus gariepensis)
57 Inyanga Toad (Vandijkophrynus inyangae)
58 Paradise Toad (Vandijkophrynus robinsoni)
59 Natal Cascade Frog (Hadromophryne natalensis)
60 Cederberg Ghost Frog (Heleophryne depressa)
61 Hewitt's Ghost Frog (Heleophryne hewitti)
62 Eastern Ghost Frog (Heleophryne orientalis)
63 Cape Ghost Frog (Heleophryne purcelli)
64 Southern Ghost Frog (Heleophryne regis)
65 Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei)
66 Guinea Shovel-nosed Frog (Hemisus guineensis)
67 Spotted Shovel-nosed Frog (Hemisus guttatus)
68 Mottled Shovel-nosed Frog (Hemisus marmoratus)
69 Golden Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus aureus)
70 Snoring Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus crotalus)
71 Delicate Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus delicatus)
72 Greater Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus fornasinii)
73 Knysna Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus knysnae)
74 Natal Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus spinifrons intermedius)
75 Natal Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus spinifrons spinifrons)
76 Argus Reed Frog (Hyperolius argus)
77 Bocage's Sharp-nosed Reed Frog (Hyperolius benguellensis)
78 Arum Lily Frog (Hyperolius horstockii)
79 Nyanga Long Reed Frog (Hyperolius inyangae)
80 Marginated Reed Frog (Hyperolius marginatus)
81 Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus)
82 Sharp-headed Long Reed Frog (Hyperolius microps)
83 Mitchell's Reed Frog (Hyperolius mitchelli)
84 Pointed Long Reed Frog (Hyperolius nasicus)
85 Long Reed Frog (Hyperolius nasutus)
86 Angolan Reed Frog (Hyperolius parallelus)
87 Parker's Reed Frog (Hyperolius parkeri)
88 Pickersgill's Reed Frog (Hyperolius pickersgilli)
89 Power's Long Reed Frog (Hyperolius poweri)
90 Water Lily Frog (Hyperolius pusillus)
91 Laurent's Reed Frog (Hyperolius rhodesianus)
92 Yellow-striped Reed Frog (Hyperolius semidiscus)
93 Swynnerton's Reed Frog (Hyperolius swynnertoni)
94 Tinker Reed Frog (Hyperolius tuberilinguis)
95 Red-legged Kassina (Kassina maculata)
96 Bubbling Kassina (Kassina senegalensis)
97 Rattling Frog (Semnodactylus wealii)
98 Spotted Rubber Frog (Phrynomantis affinis)
99 Marbled Rubber Frog (Phrynomantis annectens)
100 Banded Rubber Frog (Phrynomantis bifasciatus)
101 East African Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus acridoides)
102 Dwarf Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus mababiensis)
103 Snoring Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus natalensis)
104 Small Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus parvulus)
105 Ornate Frog (Hildebrandtia ornata)
106 Plain Grass Frog (Ptychadena anchietae)
107 Guibe's Grass Frog (Ptychadena guibei)
108 Mapacha Grass Frog (Ptychadena mapacha)
109 Broad-banded Grass Frog (Ptychadena mossambica)
110 Nile Grass Frog (Ptychadena nilotica)
111 Sharp-nosed Grass Frog (Ptychadena oxyrhynchus)
112 Striped Grass Frog (Ptychadena porosissima)
113 Schilluk Grass Frog (Ptychadena schillukorum)
114 Speckled-bellied Grass Frog (Ptychadena subpunctata)
115 Dwarf Grass Frog (Ptychadena tanioscelis)
116 Udzungwa Grass Frog (Ptychadena uzungwensis)
117 Cape Platanna (Xenopus gilli)
118 Common Platanna (Xenopus laevis)
119 Muller's Platanna (Xenopus muelleri)
120 Power's Platanna (Xenopus poweri)
121 Common River Frog (Amietia delalandii)
122 Cape River Frog (Amietia fuscigula)
123 Phofung River Frog (Amietia hymenopus)
124 Inyanga River Frog (Amietia inyangae)
125 Poynton's River Frog (Amietia poyntoni)
126 Van Dijk's River Frog ((Amietia vandijki)
127 Maluti River Frog (Amietia vertebralis)
128 Natal Chirping Frog (Anhydrophryne hewitti)
129 Mistbelt Chirping Frog (Anhydrophryne ngongoniensis)
130 Hogsback Chirping Frog (Anhydrophryne rattrayi)
131 Bainskloof Moss Frog (Arthroleptella bicolor)
132 Drewes's Moss Frog (Arthroleptella drewesii)
133 Landdroskop Moss Frog (Arthroleptella landdrosia)
134 Cape Peninsula Moss Frog (Arthroleptella lightfooti)
135 Rough Moss Frog (Arthroleptella rugosa)
136 Northern Moss Frog (Arthroleptella subvoce)
137 De Villiers' Moss Frog (Arthroleptella villiersi)
138 Klipheuwel Caco (Cacosternum aggestum)
139 Southern Caco (Cacosternum australis)
140 Boettger's Caco (Cacosternum boettgeri)
141 Cape Caco (Cacosternum capense)
142 Karoo Caco (Cacosternum karooicum)
143 Namaqua Caco (Cacosternum namaquense)
144 KwaZulu Caco (Cacosternum nanogularum)
145 Bronze Caco (Cacosternum nanum)
146 Mountain Caco (Cacosternum parvum)
147 Flat Caco (Cacosternum platys)
148 Rhythmic Caco (Cacosternum rhythmum)
149 Striped Caco (Cacosternum striatum)
150 Hogsback Caco (Cacosternum thorini)
151 Micro Frog (Microbatrachella capensis)
152 Kloof Frog (Natalobatrachus bonebergi)
153 Montane Marsh Frog (Poyntonia paludicola)
154 Giant Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus)
155 East African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus angusticeps)
156 African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus edulis)
157 Banded Stream Frog (Strongylopus bonaespei)
158 Striped Stream Frog (Strongylopus fasciatus)
159 Clicking Stream Frog (Strongylopus grayii)
160 Chimanimani Stream Frog (Strongylopus rhodesianus)
161 Namaqua Stream Frog (Strongylopus springbokensis)
162 Plain Stream Frog (Strongylopus wageri)
163 Tremolo Sand Frog (Tomopterna cryptotis)
164 Damaraland Sand Frog (Tomopterna damarensis)
165 Cape Sand Frog (Tomopterna delalandii)
166 Knocking Sand Frog (Tomopterna krugerensis)
167 Russet-backed Sand Frog (Tomopterna marmorata)
168 Natal Sand Frog (Tomopterna natalensis)
169 Tandy's Sand Frog (Tomopterna tandyi)
170 Rough Sand Frog (Tomopterna tuberculosa)
171 Darling's Golden-backed Frog (Amnirana darlingi)
172 Galam Golden-backed Frog (Amnirana galamensis)
173 Southern Foam Nest Frog (Chiromantis xerampelina)

By definition, spectrograms are visual images of sounds - they let you 'see' the sound of the frog's call. They are simple graphs that show you the frequency, duration and pulse of a call, and how loud or soft each part of the call is. These parts of the call appear as lines, streaks and dots on the spectrogram. The density of the marks reflects how loudly or softly each part of the call is made. Dense, black marks indicate loud sounds; lighter grey patterns indicate softer sounds. In a way, spectrograms are more precise than words and, with some practice, are easy to read.

The vertical axis measures the frequency of the call. Frequency is determined by the wavelength of the sound and is measured in kilohertz (kHz). The lower the pitch of a call, the closer the call is to the bottom of the graph. Conversely, the higher the pitch, the closer to the top of the graph the marks will appear. Many frog calls are made up of a mixture of high- and low-pitched sounds and their component parts are therefore spread over the height of the spectrogram.

The horizontal axis reflects the sound over time, which is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. The length of each part of the call and the duration of the whole call are shown horizontally across the width of the spectrogram. A long, slow call stretches across the width of the spectrogram, a short, sharp click appears as a spot or narrow vertical strip. A protracted, pure flute-like tone extends unbroken across the spectrogram. A call that is made up of short, closely spaced pulses or vibrations appears as a series of short marks.

The call of the Western Leopard Toad, shown in the spectrogam on the right, can be described as a long drawn-out snore with the pitch ranging from low (0 kHz) to high (6 kHz). At the lower end of the graph, the dense, dark marks indicate the louder part of the call, while the thinner, lighter lines represent softer notes.
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