Voices of Costa Rican Frogs and Toads

Voices of Costa Rican Frogs and Toads:
An Anuran cyber CD of music from the moist-skinned marvels, —the Tico-frog-and-toad-tones
© David L. Ross, Jr. 2009

This compilation and page is a work in progress At present it includes natural sound recordings of stereo choruses of frogs and toads from various locations in Costa Rica. These are recorded in Costa Rica by the author. An attempt has been made to correctly identify not only the prevalent frog or toad species heard, but also other notable vocalist in the recordings. In essence a recording of frogs, is a recording of that type of habitat, a snapshot in time in which frogs were front and center.

Each recording for now, has a track # and a link to a description of the recording. Click on the Track # and the MP3 should play. Click on the Details/ Description, and you will be taken to a the section of the page which has a some description or detail pertaining to the recording. It works well with Internet Explorer, and the Windows Media Player. With this setup, the page should display properly, and while the media player handles the audio, the browser still allows you to link to the information in the description. If you see any errors, or have questions pertaining to the recordings, the species or identifications please let me know.

There are no doubt better ways to do this. And a flash- based presentation which could includes all aspects of the multimedia components might be best. Again, these sounds are the copyrighted property of the author. Contact me at: dlrossjr@gmail.com

Hope you enjoy the sounds,

David Ross   4/8/2009

Last updated 6-14-09

  Voices of Costa Rican Frogs and Toads: (cyber CD Jacket)
Disc 1: Stereo Frog Choruses   by David L. Ross, Jr.

Stereo Choruses Species Reference Unidentified Sounds


Track 01 (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) Smoky Jungle Frogs in the Dusk Chorus    Details/ Description 04:54 MP3 8.98 MB
Track 02   (Eleutherodactylus diastema) Tink Frog and Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) Details/ Description 02:05 MP3 3.82 MB
Track 03   (Smilisca sila) Tree Frog –maybe, and (Cochranella albomaculata) Yellow-flecked Glass Frog Details/ Description 03:11 MP3 5.84 MB
Track 04 (Hyla picadoi) calling from bromeliads in trees in high elevation oak forest. Details/ Description 2:01 MP3 3.71 MB
Track 05 (Hyla ebraccata) Harlequin Treefrog and (Hyla loquax) Swamp Treefrog Details/ Description 2:11 MP3 4.01 MB
Track 06 (Hyla loquax), (Scinax elaeochroa) Olive-snouted Treefrogs, and (Agalychis callidryas) Red-eyed Treefrogs and (Agalycnis saltator) Parachuting Red-eyed Treefrogs Details/ Description 3:22 MP3 6.19 MB
Track 07 (Physalaemus pustulosus) Tungara Frog Details/ Description 1:06 MP3 2.02 MB
Track 08 (Smilisca baudinii) Mexican Treefrog Details/ Description 1:36 MP3 2.93 MB
Track 09 Poison-Dart Frogs in the Mix
(Phyllobates lugubris) and (Dendrobates pumilio) Striped and Strawberry Poison-Dart Frogs

Details/ Desctipton2:36 MP34.76 MBTrack 10(Gastrophryne pictiventris) Southern Narrow-mouthed ToadDetails/ Description1:25 MP32.60 MBTrack 11(Dendrobates pumilio) Strawberry Poison-Dart Frogs with approaching rainDetails/ Description4:27 MP38.15 MBTrack 12(Scinax elaeochroa) Olive-snouted Treefrogsmany!Details/ Description1:27 MP32.66 MBTrack 13(Hyla loquax) Swamp Treefrogs–The Fast and the FuriousDetails/ Description3:31 MP36.44 MBTrack 14(Colostethus talamancae) Talamanca Rocket Frogs Details/ Description1:52 MP33.44 MBTrack 15(Hyla rosenbergi) Gladiator Frogs with some (Hyla ebraccata)Details/ Description1:01 MP31.86 MB

Track 01 (Leptopdactylus pentadactylus) “Smoky Jungle Frogs in the Dusk Chorus”
Recorded along the Cantarana Trail (the frog song trail) at the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) Finca la Selva Biological Station in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui ,Costa Rica. Recordist: David Ross Date May 1996.

Throughout the day in a humid forest there is almost always sound. Even on the calmest afternoon, lizards will rustle the leaf litter, the wings of flys’, beetles and bees will drone, poison dart frogs will call with trill and small ratchet sounds akin to the sounds of orthopterans and crickets, while orthopterans, crickets and cicadas will fill whatever gaps of quiet that might otherwise steal the stage. There are almost always bird sounds, or bird noises, the occasional vocalizations and movements of monkeys, the dripping of leaves, and falling of fruit.

There are also periods or moments of tumultuous ruckus, of deafening creatures which en masse, eclipse all else in the forest. This recording was made as the sun was setting, as the last shadows faded with a glow through the canopy. This is not purely a frog recording of course. This is a stereo recording of a lowland rainforest, where the creatures of the day utter their last, and the creatures of the night capture the flag and will hold it until the dawn. It was captured with a digital audio tape recorder (a DAT machine) and a pair of Sennheiser microphones. This is an event captured on tape, one that has occurred here for as long as the Cantarana Pond has filled with water, or perhaps flooded is a better description. This recording was made following a week or so of very heavy rains it seemed to rain and pour for days.. It was apparently at that moment, that just post-filling of the ponds, that the microphones had found the frogs, in a place we can only hope that they will always be.

The loud “woroop” sounds are from numerous Smoky Jungle Frogs (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) calling from the edges of this pond and beyond. These frogs called most forcefully at dusk and shortly into the night, the chorus was evident at probably a kilometer in distance. Great Tinamous compete for top billing with haunting tremulous whistles. Eleutherodactylus fitzengeri utters a few strident clicking series. Vehicles on the highway that heads past the field station and through banana plantations are heard very fainly beyond the din.

For those of you still reading, here is what the recordist’s ears still hear more than a dozen years after the DEET, the sweat, and the DAT meter was glowing in the near dark, and then dark.

Smoky Jungle Frogs (Leptopdactylus pentadactylus) –loud “woroop” sounds
Great Tinamou (Tinamus major) eerie tremulous whistles
Chestnut-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza excul) song –two note “tooo choo”
Dusk Cicadas –pulsing siren-like cicada sound
Fitzinger’s Rainfrog (Eleutherodactylus fitzingeri)
(Clack, clack,clack,clack,clack,clack,clack,) sounds like someone tapping two stones together, heard very sporadically throughout the piece
Harlequin Treefrog (Hyla ebraccata) starting up, ratchet-like sound, that never quite gets going
Red-eyed Tree Frogs (Agalychis callidryas) — soft “cluck”, or single “chuck” sounds
Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis) “toot, toot-toot-toot”
Chestnut-backed Antbird calls, (raspy cat-like sounds)
louder/ closer Tinamou
Fitzinger’s Rainfrog closer,
Olive-snouted Treefrog (Scinax elaeochroa) –a few calls “wraaack”

Track 02 Tink Frog and Common Potoo
Recorded at Night, OTS Finca la Selva Biological Station in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui ,Costa Rica.
Recordist: David Ross Date May 1996.

The sharp metalic chime-like “tink” or “dink” sounds are the vocalizations of the apply-named Tink Frog. This small eleutherodactyid will perch on low vegetation, often sheilded from view, to utter his plaintive advertising call. Throughout the piece there are a few startling calls from the Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus). Recorded in stereo, in the small hours of what had been and incredible moonlit night. The target in this recording was the potoo. This gray bird of the night was using a song perch on a dead snag to give its haunting mornful call. Potoos are insectivores, akin to goatsuckers or whip-poor-wills, or if you’re from down under, to frogmouths. The common potoo with its large eyes will be able to see the silouettes of insects, against the night time sky, and fly to capture them with its wide-gaped bill. –but enough of such bird-speak, this is a site for frogs, and the tink frog is a favorite. Pure tones, given in short bursts across the cool air of the night, like a lone bugle on a hill in the still of morning, or a pebble dropped deliberately into the calm surface of a pond. The sound ripples and spreads outward across the forest.

Track 03 (Smilisca sila)? and (Cochranella albomaculata) Yellow-flecked Glass Frog
Recorded 12-17-90 approximately 1900hrs on the Osa Peninsula at Corcovado National Park, near the Los Patos Field Station entrance,
Puntarenas Costa Rica, Recordist: David Ross

This recording was made a long time ago, in a place I will probably never be again. I do remember suffering from the flu, but wanting to have a listen to whatever the night might offer. Not far from the field station guard shack, and the clearing where the tent was pitched, there was a trail, which would head into the rainforest, down towards the Sirena Field Station. By day this forest would offer recordings of the Colostethus frogs (sleek, black and white striped, tan frogs which are in the poison-dart frog family). At night, after a rain in the afternoon, the nearby creek came alive soon after dark.

The recording is made on the edge of this creek, or babbling brook. It was truly an amazing experience. The most obvious initial sound was the larger raucus tree frog (Smilisca sila) identified only tenuously here many years later. This species was calling from down low, on the banks, and in the creek it seemed, along the length of the creek. The calls would occur in waves, starting either up the creek and travelling downward or from down creek and heading past the microphones in the other direction. The frogs would synchronize their calling, it was a bit like fans doing the wave at a sports stadium.

The high pitched notes (sharper and higher than those of the tink frog above) are of a glass frog, and from photos, and descripions and other recordings, These vocalizations are deduced to be from Yellow-flecked Glass Frog (Cochranella albomaculata) –Twan Leenders pesonal communication.

Track 04 (Hyla picadoi) Oak Forest Frog Species
Frog unseen, unidentified at the time of the recording, but 11 years later a 2007 paper by Erik Lindquist and John Cossel Jr shed light on this very cool nocturnal canopy caller. From high elevation oak forest, in the still of the night, in cool mountain air, this characteristic, enchanting, wooden sound can not be missed. I was always sure it was a frog, and it seems to originate from bromeliads high in the oak trees.
Recorded at the Cuerici Biological Station in stereo 4/20/96 0012hrs, David L. Ross DAT 96-31

What sealed the deal on identifying this frog is a recording cataloged at the Borror Lab of Bioacoustics BLB # 32346 found at this link;

Track 05 (Hyla ebraccata) Harlequin Treefrog and (Hyla loquax) Swamp Treefrog
(recording description in progress)
(Hyla ebraccata),(Hyla loquax) La Selva  stereo DAT 93-13@ 11:00
21:44hrs 6/7/93

Track 06 Swamp Treefrog, Olive-snouted Treefrog, and Red-eyed Treefrog and Parachuting Red-eyed Treefrog
(recording description in progress)
(Hyla loquax)  (La Selva) stereo 96-48 @ 58:00 0450hrs 5/13/96
Scinax elaeochroa
NICE CHORUS of (Hyla loquax), (Scinax elaeochroa), (Hyla ebraccata), (Agalychnis callidryas), (Agalychnis saltator), (Smilisca baudinii),
(Leptodactylus pentadactylus)

Track 07 (Physalaemus pustulosus) Tungara Frog
(recording description in progress)
This recording has been identified based on the description of the sounds heard. The vocalists were not seen. Confidence in the identification being correct–hmm? I’ld at least put a dollar on it. Flooded field and ditch habitat, at night, mosquitoes swarming, small gnats and moths gettign into sweaty eyes if the headlamp was on–other excuses. So no photo, no confirmation, but if you know your (Physalaemus pustulosus) please email me.

(Physalaemus pustulosus) (Paloverde) stereo 5/25/94 2230hrs RDAT # 93-07@c 31:00

Track 08 (Smilisca baudinii) Mexican Treefrog
(recording description in progress)
Smilisca baudinii (La Selva) stereo 6/13/93 DAT 93-15@~1:29:20 chorus

Track 09 (Phyllobates lugubris) and (Dendrobates pumilio) Poison-Dart Frogs in the Mix
Striped Poison-Dart Frogs, and Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs, with Smoky Jungle Frogs and a few Fitzinger’s Rainfrogs too!

The air is heavy with moisture, a late afternoon sky with a darkening, ominous gray clouds. Thunder rumbles in distance. Night is not far off, and rain is even closer. In this segment four species of frogs are easily discenible. In addition to the two species of poison dart frogs (with numerous individuals), there are the resonant “horoop” calls of Smoky Jungle Frogs which forms a back beat of base, and the stone tapping calls of Fitzinger’s Rainfrogs–given very sporadically. The recordist’s aim and game here, is to put the stereo microphones, somewhere close enough to the comparatively small sounds, in a manner in which several of them are prominent in the stereo field, with some to the left, and some to the right. This recording was captured in well developed rainforest, with closed canopy, and large vines. It was not far from a flooded pond. Also not far enough from a road, a field station, and a trail, and as dusk approaches, so does dinner, and foot traffic.

The amazing, the magical, a wonder at arms reach, but all invisible– without a tiny bit of help. I wish I’ld had this help when I was your age 🙂
In anycase, those that know, know it is true.. Some secrets are pretty easy to figure out, and others, such as how to find a poison-dart frog might not be. Yes they are bright, beautiful–and small. But the way to find them, is with your ears.

The trills, and cricket like sounds in this recording, are a natural stereo recording (no additives or preservatives) and for listening purposes, non-toxic. The cut is mostly of (Phyllobates lugubris), as there are several giving their plaintive ringing trills from perches on or near the forest floor. About halfway in to this recording, a very prominent (Dendrobates pumilio) starts up with a less plaintive, ratchet-like or grasshopper-like series. This insect-like sound of several Dendrobates pumilio, is actually evident in the background throughout the cut. The Dendrobates pumilio is definitely more common and prevalent. Additional species are heard in this piece as well, including the “Clack, clack, clack, clack,clack,clack” of the rainfrog (Eleutheradactylus fitzingerii).

The phyllobates, in real life, might not sound this loud, unless you put your ears a little lower to the ground, and a little closer to the moist log, or mossy root, they are calling from.

Other sounds for those interested include the distant child-like shout, or call of a Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), and an even more distant train-whistle sound from the Slaty-breasted Tinamou (Crypturellus boucardi)

Track 10 (Gastrophryne pictiventris) Southern Narrow-mouthed Toad
The loud “whaaaaaaa” calls are of this microhylid Gastrophryne pictiventris. After a period (days it seemed) of heavy rains had flooded a pond, and forest, these toads were heard soon after dusk. They were calling while floating on the surface in shallow water but a few inches deep. The toads seem to carefully overlap each other, in an acoustic game of electricity, or harmony. Some resonant “wrooop” calls of the Smoky Jungle Frog are heard ramping up their chorus throughout the recording, if you’re testing your frog-acoustic processing, you might listen for Red-eyed, and Harlequin Treefrogs.

Track 11 (Dendrobates pumilio Strawberry Poison-Dart Frogs ) with approaching rain
Later afternoon, light rain and steady drip set the stage, the sound droplets impacting broad stiff leaves. The close ratcheting crick,crick,crick…. crick, that goes on for about a minute at time, is the call or song, of the Strawberry, or Blue Jeans Poison-Dart Frog. The piece starts off with one dart-frog calling from the left, There are the throat-clearing sounds and deep, faint whistles of Purple-throated Fruitcrows, parakeets fy over, distant dart-frogs call, there’s the pulsing call of Dusk Cicadas, a second Strawberry Poison Dart-Frog calls from the right, White-breasted Woodwrens give a more querulous whistled phrase, the rain picks up, more cicadas, more distant dart-frogs, and then another calls more strongly from the right of center again. Cicadas take us to the end, with the sound of rain.

Track 12 (Scinax elaeochroa) Olive-snouted Treefrogsmany!
This is a multi-species, multi-frog recording. The piece starts with a wall of the whining sound of many Scinax elaeochroa, there is some honking from the Mexican Treefrog, are some popcorn like sounds from the Swamp Treefrog, some sharper ratched sounds of Harlequin Treefrog, some “whaaaaa” sounds from the Southern Narrow-mouthed toads, and if you’re ears and sound system are up to the task, you can pick out the plastic comb tine, sounds of the parachuting treefrog (Agalychnis saltator) heard throughout the piece.

Track 13 (Hyla loquax) Swamp TreefrogsThe Fast and the Furious
The louder wooden sounding calls are of Hyla loquax, the steady pulsing, almost whining wall of frog sound in the background is provided by Scinax Elaeochroa, some sharper crick crick crick sounds are from the Harlequin Treefrog, (Hyla ebraccata), very far back are some Mexican Treefogs (Smilisca baudinii) honking.

Track 14 (Colostethus talamancae) Talamanca Rocket Frog
This chorus of bird-like peeps, was given in the heat of the afternoon, beneath a canopy of mature rainforest trees in the foothills of Corcovado National Park, near the Los Patos Field Station. Several frogs were calling from the leaf litter, announcing and defending their territories. The microphones were placed very near to the ground, and scurrying lizzards (Ameiva festiva) are heard making their way across the forest floor during the recording. Birds that add background sounds include Thrushlike Manakin, Rufous Piha, and Blue Ground-Dove.

Track 15 (Hyla rosenbergi) Gladiator Frogs, with some (Hyla ebraccata)
When the Gladiator Frogs are in chorus, it can sound a bit like a ping-pong match, with the double-noted percussive sounds bouncing from one side to the other. There are also some higher pitched ratchet-like sounds from the Harlequin Tree Frog (Hyla ebraccata). This recording was made at Corcovado National Park, near the Sirena Field Station. The frogs were calling from temporary ponds bordering some secondary forest, and the grass airstrip. The roar of the Pacific Ocean surf is heard in the background.