QUIZ: Can you guess which animals make these sounds?

Written by Thomson Safaris

On safari, you’ll hear a symphony of brays, chuffs and roars everywhere you go–who knew the call of the wild was such a ruckus? And when you travel with Thomson, you’re traveling with an animal audio aficionado–all Thomson guides have trained for decades to identify the beasts behind the brouhaha.

But what about you? Can you guess what safari animals make the following sounds?

Press the play button on each sound bar, turn your volume up and keep track of your score and see how you rank!

1. True or False: A canine makes these barking sounds.

wild dog and jackal

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This barking/braying sound is produced by zebras to express curiosity, communicate with their mates, express anger or assert dominance. “Braying advertises territorial status,” according to the Behavior Guide of African Mammals.

zebras in black and white

2. Which animal whoops like this?

hyena and hoopoe

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Hyenas! Each hyena has its own unique whoop, which they use to remind other hyenas where they are over longer distances. It’s a quintessential safari sound that most guests hear late at night – but it’s only one of many. Scientists have identified as many as 14 hyena vocalizations, including “giggling,” grunting and screeching.

If you thought that whooping sounded creepy, you’re not alone! Here’s what our guests thought, according to a poll on our Instagram:

3. Which animal sounds like sawing wood?


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These elusive and solitary cats are usually silent–but their iconic hacksaw roar is hoarse and guttural, intended to show dominance when threatened or mark their territory. Opposing leopards rarely heed these warnings, however, and the noise is often a precursor to battle.

4. Which animal makes this sound?

ostrich buffalo lion quiz PRESS PLAY TO LISTEN

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You’d be forgiven for mistaking this low boom for a lion’s call. Male ostriches make this sound when they want to attract a mate, defend territory or signal to other ostriches that a challenger is approaching. The beak remains closed, and the neck inflates up to three times its normal size. Listen below for the similarities!

5. True or False: Only cows make mooing sounds.


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False! Wildebeest moo, too!

These creatures have a wide array of noisy vocalizations, from basic moos to explosive snorts. They’ll use these sounds to assert dominance, get attention from females and let other wildebeest know when a river is safe to cross.

Watch the Great Migration of wildebeest cross the Mara River, footage shot by Thomson guest Mary Barinaga.

6. Which bird makes this sound?


[Click here to reveal answer]

Ring-necked dove!

The ring-necked dove is behind this sing-song call of “work HAR-der, work HAR-der.” The bird is so widespread in Africa that its song is often considered a characteristic sound of the continent. You’re most likely to hear it out in the bush in the morning hours, when they’re most active.

7. Which animal makes these grunting noises?

warthog impala and hippo quiz question

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When one starts honking, others follow until a group is bellowing. Their wheezy vocalizations can reach a volume of 115 decibels–the equivalent to a rock concert.

Watch hippos display their dominance in the Serengeti Hippo Pool, footage shot by Thomson guest Jim Turner.

8. Which animal chirps like this?

crane cheetah and lilac breasted roller quiz

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Were you surprised to learn a cat could sound like a bird? Nature can be tricky like that! Cheetahs cannot roar like other big cats. Cheetahs purr, growl, hiss and chirp. The chirp sound is used by both males and females to communicate a variety of emotions or a mother cheetah will use the chirp as a call to her cubs.

9. Which animal screams “WAHOO”?

baboon rhino quiz

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Research shows that baboons are capable of producing vowel-like sounds and combining them in unique ways–hence, their barks, yahs and wahoos. The only other species that can do this? Humans!

portrait of baboon

10. Bonus Sound: Lions

Everyone knows what a lion’s roar sounds like – give yourself an extra point! Listen to Thomson Head Guide Freddy do his impression of a male lion using a sound you may be less familiar with – one where they assert territory and dominance.


0-3 correct: We get it, Noise Novice–Tanzania’s 550+ species can start to sound the same after a while. Check out Thomson’s Youtube channel for some sonic studying!

4-7 correct: You’re a true Cacophony Cadet! You identified some tricky species–but there’s always more to learn. Can you guess the weird group names for these 10 safari animals?

8-10 correct: Let’s make some noise for your excellent score, Babble Buff! Now, can you name the animals in these 10 closeup photos?