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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Bird-voiced Treefrog, Hyla avivoca

Hyla avivoca (typical pose) Hyla avivoca range

The Bird-voiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca) is a small species reaching on average a size of about 1.75 inches (record size is about 2 inches or 52 mm). Females average larger than males. The Bird-voiced Treefrog is a highly arboreal species. It climbs high into trees in hardwood floodplain swamps of the southern Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Gulf Coast, and along the lower Red and Mississippi River drainages. This species is gray, brown, or greenish in color, with a white square below each eye, and often one or more large dark blotches on the back. It bears strong resemblance to the Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Both Gray Treefrogs have ranges that overlap that of the Bird-voiced Treefrog, which differs from them as follows:

  1. Adult Bird-voiced Treefrogs are smaller in average size.
  2. The color on the concealed surfaces of the thigh and groin ranges from light green to white (yellow to golden orange in the gray treefrogs). See photos of jumping Bird-voiced Treefrog (below left) and Gray Treefrog (below right) for comparison.
  3. There is a divided pustule at the base of the fourth fingers on each hand (undivided in the Gray Treefrogs).
  4. The call is a series of piping, bird-like whistles issued in rapid succession (it is a musical trill in H. versicolor, and a buzzing trill in H. chrysoscelis).
  5. It prefers deep, wooded swamps, where Gray Treefrogs seldom occur.
Hyla avivoca (exposed thigh coloration)
Jumping Hyla avivoca showingexposed thigh coloration.
Hyla versicolor (thigh/leg coloration)
Exposed thigh/leg colorationof Hyla versicolor.
Hyla avivoca (tadpole)
The tadpole of the Bird-voiced Treefrog is distinctive. When viewed from above, the eyes bulge wide on the sides of the head. Tadpoles are black in color, with several copper to orange bands on the top of the tail muscle, and an orange triangle on top of the head. After metamorphosis, the juveniles are sometimes found in low shrubs and vegetation around the margins of the swamps. Adults are usually heard chorusing from perches several feet or more above the water surface.

Photos: © M. Redmer,
Notice:  All images contained hereafter are the property of the said photographer. They are not to be reproduced, copied, printed, stored, or distributed without written permission of the photographer.

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