Penguins make a lot of noise, despite the fact that they live in the Antarctic ocean, one of the coldest places on earth. They’re able to do so because they have special vocalizations that they use for many different purposes like greeting members of their colony, expressing hunger or distress, and even settling disputes within the group.
Most of their vocalizations are a combination of certain physical behaviors and a tone that can vary in pitch. One of the most common sounds that you can hear from penguins is squawking, which is a loud and raucous call that is used to communicate with fellow penguins in their colonies. Another common sound is a honk, which is often heard during mating rituals between male and female penguins or as a sign of distress.
The gakkering sound is often heard as the result of a territorial dispute between two penguins. It’s a high-pitched call that resembles a trumpet and is typically accompanied by straightening their heads and opening their beaks in an aggressive posture. These displays of aggression usually don’t lead to actual fights since the penguins will back off and move away from each other.
In addition to the aforementioned sounds, penguins also have a distinctive sound called a locomotory hesitance vocalization. This is a short braying call that is uttered as the penguin approaches a place of significance like their nest, branch, or a predator (usually skuas). It’s considered a warning call and helps to protect the penguins from potential threats.