Animal noises range from the songs and calls of songbirds to the beating of a ruffed grouse's wings to the melancholic moans of the humpback whale. Animal sounds serve a variety of purposes, including attracting mates, scaring off rivals, calling young together and warning of impending danger.
Although they do not always sound distinct, bird songs are often longer lasting and more melodious, whereas bird calls are shorter, simpler and less musical. In addition, in many bird species males are more likely to sing than females, whereas both males and females produce calls.
The ruffed grouse likewise uses sounds for attracting mates, but does so by rapidly beating its short, stubby wings rather than by producing a song. Male and female rough grouse also both produce a few calls.
The eerie, otherworldly song of the humpback whale still puzzles scientists searching for its meaning. Some believe that the call functions to attract mates and communicate with other whales. On the other hand, the more familiar lonely howl of the grey wolf seems to be a clear call to other members of the pack, as well as a way to warn off rivals. Grey wolves also have a host of other sounds in their repertoire, including barks, growls and whines.