Penguins and their noisy world

An Acad Bras Cienc. 2004 Jun;76(2):279-83. doi: 10.1590/s0001-37652004000200015. Epub 2004 Jun 8.


Penguins identify their mate or chick by an acoustic signal, the display call. This identification is realized in a particularly constraining environment: the noisy world of a colony of thousands of birds. To fully understand how birds solve this problem of communication, we have done observations, acoustic analysis, propagation and playback experiments with 6 species of penguins studied in the field. According to our results, it appears that penguins use a particularly efficient "anti-confusion" and "anti-noise" coding system, allowing a quick identification and localization of individuals on the move in a noisy crowd.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Animal Communication*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Noise*
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Spheniscidae / physiology*
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology