I currently live in Madrid, Spain. In July there was a loud animal near the river, in an out of town area surrounded by grassland, with trees along the river.

It's continued into August, though it has reduced.

It sounds like a cricket in general tone and rhythm, but it is always high in the trees, and sounds too deep to be an insect. It's in the frequency range of a squawking bird, so if it's a cricket it must be huge.

On the other hand, if it was a bird, I should have been able to spot one.

Does anyone have any idea what it is?

The sound is rhythmic, rasping note, with two beats of equal duration but slighly different tone, repeated over and over again without any pause. The animal that makes it calls continuously for long periods.

EDIT: thanks to AliceD for the comment, I didn't realise we had cicadas in Europe. It could be a cicada, but it's deeper and more consistent / regular in its song than this one:


  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like a cicada to me en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada. Btwo: with frequency range I presume you mean "loudness"? They are two very different things. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Aug 15, 2015 at 13:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AliceD Thanks, it could be a cicada, though of a different species than the ones in the wikipedia article and the one in the video I've added to the question. This thing is loud, but what most impresses me is how deep it is, definitely deeper than recordings in the above mentioned media. In July there were loads of them and I assumed they were birds. Now that there's less of them and I can differentiate individuals, I'm impressed by how monotonous and consistent they are - bird song is normally more sophisticated. Also they like water, I only ever hear these things by one stretch of river. $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2015 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Have you heard of the proposed Bioacoustics Stack Exchange? It seems like you might be a valuable member of that community. Please consider committing to the page so we can get closer to making it to the Beta stage. Cheers! area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/126698/… $\endgroup$
    – ASimonis
    Mar 25, 2022 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


In this case i am going to agree with AliceD, because I live in Greece and here we hear cicadas everywhere. But in Madrid, there is a other kind of cicada that its "song" is more noisy and more deep.In this video you can hear how your cicada sings.https://youtu.be/mah26og11ms

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but that is not my cicada, the rhythm of the song is different. The closest I have found is the one in the video in the question. Also the people talking on your video have an American accent, but I wouldnt discount the possibility that we have American cicadas in Madrid. It is a very cosmopolitan city with many connections to Latin America, so cicadas could be introduced. You can hear some Greek cicadas in one of the audio tracks in the Wikipedia article that AliceD linked. They are indeed much more high pitched. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2015 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ That said, I was just in the park and heard a noise very much like your linked video. So I guess we have at least 2 species of cicada where I live. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2015 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Just to be clear – the cicada in the video linked just above (youtu.be/mah26og11ms) is Neotibicen tibicen, a genus found only in eastern North America. See here at Wikipedia. Sound recording on this page. $\endgroup$ Jun 25, 2018 at 21:14

As suggested by AliceD, it does indeed appear to be some kind of cicada. I went down the river and heard one calling, unusually far from the river (30m) where there are lower, newly planted trees. I was able to approach it and take this photo which unfortunately isn't very good.

It's possible that it's even the same species as the video I added to the question. It may be that the cicada in the video did not sing with a regular pattern because it was disturbed by the observers. My cicada refused to sing at all while I was watching him, preferring not to draw attention to himself. I took 3 photos before he began to walk up the tree. On my fourth photo he became startled, flew off, and immediately resumed singing elsewhere.

The cicada in the video sounds more tinny than the ones by my river. That may be an audio effect.

enter image description here


The originally posted song and video suggest a cicada in the genus Cicada (the type genus of the family Cicadidae, which is known from southern Europe, eastern Asia, and north Africa); some identified recordings of this genus can be found at this page on European cicadas. So far I can only find references to C. orni and C. barbara in Spain, but the recordings of those species given on the European cicadas site don't exactly match, although the physical appearance does suggest C. orni (keeping in mind that the white waxiness often gets rubbed off adult cicadas over time). Since the orni recording on the website is from Slovenia, it may just be that the cadence of the song in that location differs from that of Spain (or in different temperatures, or in different courtship contexts). There are a few other Youtube videos described as orni from Spain with similar sounds (e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z4STY71C-8). I don't know if there are other candidates besides orni and barbara in Spain.


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