The oilbird: hearing and echolocation

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Science  27 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4391, pp. 425-427
DOI: 10.1126/science.441731


Oilbirds can navigate in total darkness by echolocation. The sound energy in their sonar cries is unevenly distributed over the range from about 1 to 15 kilohertz, with a dominant frequency range of 1.5 to 2.5 kilohertz. This corresponds to the most sensitive range of their hearing as determined by neurophysiological methods. Behavioral tests in their home cave indicate that the smallest object avoided by this is a disk 20 centimeters in diameter.