CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog - Rana sierrae

Camp, 1917

(= Mountain Yellow-legged Frog - Rana muscosa)

Click the play button or the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.





Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog
Male calling in shallow water

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Habitat
Location of above calling frog.




More pictures and informaton:

Frogs and Habitats

Eggs and Tadpoles





Advertisement Calls


An advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog. It is produced by a male during the breeding season to attract females of his own species. It can also serve an agressive function to defend his calling site by warning rival males of his presence. Frogs usually make the calls around bodies of water that are suitable for breeding and egg laying. These calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and sometimes during daylight at the peak of the breeding season.


The advertisement call of the Siera Nevada Yellow-legged Frog is produced in the air and underwater during the daytime. It is a short and rasping call often accellerated and rising at the end, sometimes preceeded by calls that don't rise at the end. This frog has no vocal sacs.


The following recordings were made in the air and underwater at about 9000 ft. elevation in Alpine County at the location shown below. Water flowing from snow-melt into the small lake can be heard in the background, along with occasional singing birds.

This is an 18 second recording of calls made by a male frog sitiing at the edge of the water with its head slightly out of the water (top picture on the left - notice the bubbles created while calling.) The sounds recorded are those produced by the frog in the air.
This is 18 second recording of calls made by the same frog heard on the left, but recorded with an underwater microphone placed in the shallow water in front of the frog. The sounds recorded are those produced by the frog underwater.

This is 34 seconds of the calls of the frog heard above recorded in the air.
This is a 40 second recording of frog sounds recorded underwater. A pair of slowly-swimming frogs in amplexus disappeared from view behind a a log on the water. A single frog followed them, and these are some of the sounds that ensued.


These recordings were made in the air at an inlet to a pond on a late Spring afternoon on a different year than the recordings heard above, but in the same location in Alpine County shown below. These frogs typically call sporadically and only for a few seconds, so they are difficult to record. They often swim from the bottom to the edge, then call briefly, then swim back again. By the time you hear one call and aim the microphone at it, it can be almost or completely finished. They are also very quiet in volume, and there is incessant loud running water near them, so even with a powerful microphone aimed directly at them, it is still difficult to hear them on a recording.

This is a 49 second recording of the calls of several different frogs, which have been edited together.

These are the encounter or release calls of two males, in two separate encounters. Sierran Treefrogs are heard in the background.
Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Habitat  Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Habitat  Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Habitat  Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Habitat
Waveform and Sonogram
This is a recording of the advertisement calls of a Sierra Yellow-legged Frog recorded during the day in Alpine County.

The image on the right is a visual representation of this call.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.

Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male frog or an unreceptive female frog when a male frog or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a frog's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

This is a 5 second recording of the release calls of a frog on land, recorded during daylight. Birds and flowing water are heard in the background.

This is a 4 second underwater recording of the release calls of a frog underwater.
Short Videos
Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog
These are four videos of three different male frogs calling during an early summer afternoon in Alpine County. Running water, birds, insects, and an occasional Sierran (Pacific) Treefrog are heard in the background.
Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog  
Several groups of male frogs are seen during the breeding season chasing and amplexing each other. You can hear release calls in the first few scenes. This behavior continued for hours, so it did not appear that they were mistaking each other for females they could breed with, but that it was some kind of territorial behavior between males. Or they could have been practicing their pouncing skills for when they encountered females in the future. (This is a long video which might take some time to download.) Two males are seen during the breeding season chasing and amplexing each other until one leaves and the other begins calling. This is a long (2 minute) version of a frog calling in the afternoon Alpine County.  


You can listen to more Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog calls on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover


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