I'm here hunting turkey in Virginia and I keep hearing unidentifiable sounds that I'm pretty sure are not turkey.

One of the most common one is something like a monkey (chimp) cackling/laughing. It's usually 16 equally pitched notes in a 4/4 beat: ka-ka-ka-ka times 4. It's probably a bird.

Do you know what animal this could be? Can you provide links to examples of the sound?

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    Sounds like a Sasquatch or Bigfoot to me.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 14:44
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    What time of the day was it? I'm super inclined to call it a barred owl. But i'm not sure if a barred owl would sing during the day. Commented May 13, 2018 at 16:25
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    youtu.be/rYH34K6cPX0?t=59 Check this out. If this is what you heard, it's a barred owl. They sound pretty much like monkeys. And since you are from the Eastern US, it matches the description. I'll add it as an answer if this is the one. Else, the detective work continues :D Commented May 13, 2018 at 16:32
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    @RoryAlsop en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Atlantic_(United_States) Commented May 13, 2018 at 17:31
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    Yup - but it makes no sense to non-USA-ians. Mid Atlantic more accurately (and generally for other cultures) refers to that region centred on the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 17:51

5 Answers 5


Grey squirrels make a surprising range of sounds, including quite a loud one sometimes called barking, but repetitive and rather like a cackling at times. This video collects a few of them; you might want to skip to about 3:40.

Your Eastern Gray Squirrel is the same species as we have (introduced) in the UK. They make these alarm calls from in trees (sometimes high and not easily seen) so give the impression of birds until you catch them in the act.

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    I am so glad you brought up the Gray Squirrel...I am in the west with these beautiful blue grey squirrels. They are worse than ravens or dogs barking...how they sustain their incessant 'barking' is amazing. I just have to go out and shoo shoo the cat population to get them to stop. Ravens do regimented series of 'barks' or 'caws'...its actually mathematical...amazing birds that are able to mimic the call of wolves to get the wolves ripping up a carcass so the ravens as well as Turkey Vultures can carry away chunks of food. I've also know the cougar having a weird high pitched 'bark'.
    – stormy
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 21:53
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    Grins..wilderness and botany and biology are well known to me...I've spent more time in the wilderness than I have in square buildings. Are fisherpeople on here or is there another spot for people who know rivers and fish? Thanks, Sue.;
    – stormy
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 0:39
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    @stormy you'll find a lot of fishing related questions and activities on here. Check these out Commented May 14, 2018 at 4:27
  • I think it might be it but not exactly the same
    – amphibient
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:49

Try listening to the sounds/songs/calls on these two pages.

I would bet on the second one bird. But, the first one is worth listening to.

The first one on this page labeled "song": https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Flicker/sounds

The first two on this page labeled "Wuk": https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pileated_Woodpecker/sounds


Sounds like the flicker or pileated per user14513. If not, have you considered the yellow billed cuckoo? https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-billed_Cuckoo


I would vote woodpecker, specifically the big red headed ones that we call "wood hens" here in alabama.



I know this is a late answer but this sounds like a woodpecker to me. That's how I describe the calls of a Pileated woodpecker here in Florida, like a monkey cackling/laughing. Check out the songs and calls on this page: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/pileated-woodpecker

  • That answer has already been given, although this is a different link to evidence.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 11:05

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