Bald Head Island Conservancy

Sounds of Spring: Common Frog Calls on BHI

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By Allison Polinski, Coastal Scientist

As the weather warms up, male frogs and toads have started calling to find their mates. There are 31 species of frogs and toads in North Carolina, and many of these species can be heard on BHI. Bald Head Island Conservancy participates in both CASP (Calling Amphibian Survey Program) and FrogWatch USA, two frog and toad auditory surveys for identifying species present and their abundance.

Below are some common BHI amphibians and their calls. Listen to find out who’s in your backyard!

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Rana sphenocephala

These frogs make a croaking, chuckling call made of 3 parts that can happen in any order: a call that sounds like someone rubbing their finger on a balloon, a cluck or chuckle, and a giggle. 

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Southern Toad

Bufo (Anaxyrus) terrestris

This call is a long, high-pitched trill. These toads are very common in the summer on BHI.

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Squirrel Tree Frog

Hyla squirella

Squirrel tree frogs have various color variations. They are also referred to as “rain frogs” because their loud chorus is often heard during and after a rain. Their rain call is more like a squirrel chatter, whereas their mating call is described as a nasally “waak.” 

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Green Tree Frog

Hyla cinera

Green tree frogs also have a loud, nasally call (a “quank quank quank” sound).  They can be visually distinguished from squirrel tree frogs by the defined ivory or yellow line along their upper jaw and side. They are also larger than squirrel tree frogs. 

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American Bullfrog

Rana catesbeiana

Bullfrogs are the largest frog that can be found on BHI. They call from April to August and often make solo calls rather than calling in a chorus. Their call is often described as “roo-roo-room,” “jug-o-rum,” or as the sound of a lightsaber swishing through the air. 

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Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

Gastrophryne carolinensis

Eastern Narrowmouth Toads are a small species that have a distinct call that sounds similar to a bleating lamb. 



North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission 

NC Aquariums Chapter of FrogWatch USA


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