Why do roosters crow?

Why do roosters crow?

Popularly, the claim that roosters crow in the first light of the morning is widespread and they intend to wake up anyone who is still asleep. This statement is, without a doubt, demonstrable by all those who live in rural areas or have gone for a season to spend a few days in the countryside.

But has he ever asked you why are they singing roosters? This behavior is common in these birds, and is not just a whim. For this reason, in this AnimalPlanet article, we explain the reason why roosters crow.

How do the roosters sing?

Roosters are known for their particular song described by the onomatopoeia “quiquiriquí”, with which they dare to wake up anyone who sleeps peacefully in the morning. But have you ever wondered how they can make that sound?

The truth is that roosters, like many other birds, melt much of their communication in sound, and this is possible thanks to its vocal organ, the syrinx (structure that allows us to speak), as well as the muscles that surround it and facilitate, in many birds, the possibility of using all kinds of tones and chirps depending on the force with which air passes and how those muscles contract.

Roosters have this complex bone structure located lower than humans because it is located in the trachea, more specifically, in the bifurcation that carries air to the bronchi. We, on the other hand, located it earlier, in the larynx.

Oddly enough, you might also be interested in this other article on Why Don’t Chickens Fly?

What does the rooster crowing mean?

Now that you know how roosters are able to give their characteristic song, you surely want to know with what intention they perform this behavior.

First of all (and although you probably already know it), you should know that it is the roosters, that is to say the males, the only ones who use this so particular sound. Chickens, on the other hand, do not have this need. Also, in the case of roosters castrated, these don’t make that sound either.

This behavior is therefore produced as a hormonal response due to the fact of being a man, and with two very specific objectives: attract women and like territorial challenge to other roosters rivals. Exceptionally, roosters can also produce this sound as Warning, in case they have detected a threat in the environment. This territorial behavior is not only performed by roosters, but many wild birds usually produce their songs around their territories in order to warn strangers to stay away.

Finally, it should be noted that roosters can emit another type of sound, which they share with chickens: the cackle. This sound, known as “coconut” onomatopoeia, is generally more sympathetic and reassuring, as it is a sound made when they have found food, to call the rest of the group or to start. mating.

If you have a pen with roosters and hens, we encourage you to learn more about breeding chickens.

Why do roosters crow?  - What does the rooster crowing mean?

Why do roosters crow at dawn?

Roosters crow all day and, in addition, they concentrate their songs at certain established times:

  • Dawn.
  • Midday.
  • Mid afternoon.
  • Midnight.

However, these birds are quite famous because they sing in the morning, that is, with the arrival of the first rays of the sun at dawn.

The truth is that the claim that roosters crow at dawn is not entirely true, because a study[1] conducted at Nagoya University (Japan), showed that roosters do not crow mainly because they perceive sunlight, but rather crow at dawn because their biological clock it tells them when to do it.

What does it mean? To understand it, you have to know what the experience was all about. In this, the researchers tested these birds by exposing them day and night to artificial light, so that they could not distinguish between daytime and night time and, therefore, could not perceive the first light of the dawn. Surprisingly, despite the aforementioned circumstances, these roosters they continued to sing shortly before sunrise.

This fact determined that the crowing of roosters is marked by their circadian rhythm or your body clock. However, it should be noted that despite this ability, this study does not exclude that the appearance of sunlight has a slight influence on this behavior, in addition to hearing other birds singing in the morning.

Are all the roosters crowing?

Yes, this behavior is part of the nature of all roosters. It is impossible to “silence” a rooster, because one would seek to suppress a behavior which is completely inherent to him, like breathing.

Now not all roosters crow the same frequency no more intensityWell, as we have seen, singing is an innate response to a certain context. For this reason, according to the environment and well-being of the rooster, it will crow more or less and at a higher or lower volume.

Primarily, roosters that crow less are those that live in environments that make them feel calm and secure, that is:

  • They see their basic needs covered (food, water, rest…).
  • They do not perceive threats in their environment (loud noises, other animals …).
  • They do not coexist with other roosters and therefore have no rivals to compete with.

On the contrary, a rooster who feels he lives in a dangerous environment will live under stress and be constantly on the alert, with the intention of protecting the chickens and their territory.

If you want to learn how to take good care of your rooster, don’t miss this other AnimalWised article on the hen as a pet.

Why do roosters crow?  - Do all the roosters crowing?

If you want to read more articles similar to Why Do Roosters Sing ?, we recommend that you visit our Curiosities of the Animal World section.

The references

  1. Shimmura, T., & Yoshimura, T. (2013). The circadian clock determines when the rooster crows. CurrentBiology, 23 (6), 231-233. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.02.015


  • Lee, J. (2013). How a rooster knows how to crow at dawn. National Geographic. URL link retrieved 06/05/2020: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/3/130318-rooster-crow-circadian-clock-science/

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