Bird watching friends, have you ever been taken aback by an owl call that sounds spookily similar to a monkey’s chatter? I know the feeling! One tranquil night under the starlit sky – fun fact, did you realize owls are essentially creatures of twilight and most active during dusk or dawn? – my curiosity was piqued.

What bird possesses such a distinct ‘monkey-like’ hoot in its repertoire? This intriguing mystery sent me on a journey to uncover the enigmatic world of avian calls. Through this blog, we’ll decode which sly feathered friend is behind this amusing sound and dive deep into the melodic realm of bird songs.

Excited to embark on this symphony of sounds adventure with me?.

Key Takeaways

  • Owls like the Barred owl make a funny monkey – like call that sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” It can be amusing to listen to!
  • The Western screech owl has a unique high – pitched whinny or trill that is described as eerie or haunting. It can be heard at night while they hunt.
  • Birds like the laughing kookaburra and certain mimicking birds, such as the Cedar Waxwing and Blue Jay, can make calls that sound similar to monkeys.
  • Birds use alarm calls, like mobbing and warning calls, to communicate danger and protect themselves from predators. These calls help them warn others in their flock about potential threats.

Owls with Distinct Calls

Owls are fascinating creatures with a wide range of unique calls that set them apart from other avian species. Here are some owls with distinct calls: the Barred owl, Western screech owl, Great horned owl, Barn owl, and Long-eared owl.

Barred owl (sounds like a monkey)

A Barred owl’s call is a bit funny. You might think there’s a monkey in the trees! Their sounds come out like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” This noise can make you laugh out loud.

Make sure to listen next time you are near tall trees at night, the Barred owl might just play its monkey tune!

Western screech owl

The Western screech owl is a small bird found in North America. It has a unique call that sounds like a high-pitched whinny or trill. This sound is often described as eerie or haunting, and it can be heard during the night when the owl is hunting for prey.

The Western screech owl is known for its ability to camouflage itself among tree bark, making it difficult to spot during the day. Birders enjoy listening for this distinctive call while searching for these elusive birds in their natural habitat.

Great horned owl

The Great Horned Owl is another fascinating bird with unique vocalizations. It can make a variety of sounds, including deep hoots and low growls. Its calls are very distinctive and often described as sounding like the words “who’s awake? me too!” They have a series of hoots that start deep and get higher in pitch towards the end.

These calls can be heard throughout North America, including in Virginia where I live. When you hear the Great Horned Owl calling, it’s truly an amazing experience!

Barn owl

I love the unique call of the barn owl! These owls have a distinctive screeching sound that is often described as a “shriek” or a “hiss.” It’s quite eerie and can be heard at night when they are hunting for their prey.

The barn owl’s call helps them communicate with each other and locate their food in the dark. They are also known for their silent flight, which makes it easier for them to surprise their prey.

Barn owls are fascinating creatures, and listening to their calls is definitely an interesting experience for any birder!

Long-eared owl

The long-eared owl is another fascinating species with distinct calls. These owls have a series of soft hoots, almost like a low “hoo-hoo-hoo” sound. The male’s call is slightly higher-pitched than the female’s.

When they feel threatened or disturbed, long-eared owls may make hissing and cackling noises to intimidate predators or intruders. It’s incredible how these birds use their vocalizations to communicate and protect themselves in the wild!

Other Avian Species with Unique Calls

– Laughing kookaburra: Known for its distinctive laugh-like call, this Australian bird’s vocalization can often be mistaken for the sound of a monkey.

Peacock: With their loud and high-pitched calls, peacocks make quite an impression in the avian world with their unique vocalizations.

– Mimicking birds: Certain species like the mockingbird and lyrebird have impressive abilities to mimic sounds from other animals, including monkeys, adding more intrigue to their repertoire of calls.

Laughing kookaburra

I love listening to the unique calls of birds, and one bird that really stands out is the laughing kookaburra. This bird, native to Australia, has a distinctive laugh-like call that can be heard from quite a distance.

The sound is often described as sounding like human laughter or even a monkey’s cackle. It’s definitely a memorable sound that you won’t forget once you’ve heard it!


Peacocks are known for their stunning and vibrant feathers, but did you know that they also have unique calls? When a peacock wants to get attention or communicate with others, it makes a loud and distinctive call.

This call sounds like a mixture of screeching and honking. It’s quite different from the melodious songs of other birds. The peacock’s call is meant to grab attention and let everyone know that it’s around.

So if you’re out birdwatching and hear a loud, unusual sound that resembles a combination of screeches and honks, there’s a good chance it might be a peacock! These beautiful birds definitely stand out in more ways than one.

Mimicking birds

Some birds are amazing mimics and can imitate the sounds of other animals, including monkeys. One such bird is the Cedar Waxwing, which can make sounds that resemble monkey cackling.

Another bird known for its mimicry skills is the Blue Jay, which can produce a wide range of calls, including those that sound like monkey-like bird sounds. These avian species demonstrate their impressive ability to imitate different animal noises, showcasing the fascinating world of bird vocalizations and their unique communication abilities.

Understanding Bird Alarm Calls

Birds use alarm calls to communicate danger and warn others in their flock or community. These calls can be specific to certain threats, such as mobbing calls when birds gather together to drive away predators or warning calls that alert other birds of nearby danger.

Mobbing calls

Birds use mobbing calls as a way to warn others about potential threats. When they spot a predator like an owl or a hawk, they gather together and make loud, repetitive calls to scare it away.

The idea is to make the predator think that it has been discovered and that other birds are coming to help defend the area. This behavior is common in many bird species, including blue jays and cedar waxwings.

It’s fascinating to see how birds work together to protect themselves from danger!

Warning calls

Birds use warning calls to alert others of potential danger in their environment. These calls serve as a way for them to communicate and protect themselves from predators. When a bird detects a threat, it will emit a loud and sharp sound that can be heard by other birds nearby.

This warning call is meant to warn the rest of the flock or community about the presence of a predator so they can take necessary precautions. It’s fascinating how birds have developed this instinctual behavior to ensure their safety in the wild.


In conclusion, birds have some amazing and unique calls that can resemble sounds made by monkeys and other animals. Whether it’s the monkey-like hooting of the barred owl or the laughing call of the kookaburra, these bird sounds are truly fascinating.

Understanding bird alarm calls, like mobbing and warning calls, can also give us insight into their communication and behavior. So next time you’re out birding, listen carefully for these incredible vocalizations!


1. What bird sounds like a monkey?

Some North American birds, especially owls, make interesting calls that sound monkeylike.

2. Can an owl sound like a laughing hyena or chimp?

Yes! Fascinating owl sounds can sometimes copy the effect of a laughing hyena or chimpanzee due to animal mimicry.

3. Do young birds in Virginia wildlife also have unique calls?

Surely! Many wild animals in Virginia, including young birds, have distinct bird calls which can even mimic monkey sounds.

4. Is it common for owls and monkeys to share similar sounds?

While not all owls and monkeys share similar sounds, some species’ bird communication and behavior lead to them creating very alike noises.

5. Are there other avian species with interesting noises like monkeylike bird sounds?

Definitely! Various types of avian species can make uncommon noise patterns as part of their fascinating bird behaviors.

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