Also like penguins, Common Loons have barbed tongues with sharp spines called ‘papillae’ — a feature that helps their mouths hold onto slippery fish—and they usually swallow their food under water. In the movies though, their calls can be heard in scenes set in Bolivia, Hawaii, South Africa, India, Japan and beyond, far from their home territories and habitats.
So, are bird calls hard to record or access, and that’s why there are so many gaffes? Actually, recordings of bird calls can easily be found on the site Xeno-canto, which provides sounds of birds, grasshoppers, and bats from around the world. Although bird sounds in art and entertainment certainly aren’t required to be accurate, it’s more pleasant for birders when they are!
So, when tuning into your next movie with a bag of popcorn in hand, be sure to keep an ear out for bird calls and see if you can identify any.