Audio – Orca Sounds

Click on each photo to hear different orca.
The recordings available here were made by the Glacier Bay National Park Service, Alaska, using a hydrophone that is anchored near the mouth of Glacier Bay, Alaska for the purpose of monitoring ambient noise.


The recordings are intended to provide examples of the types of natural and manmade sounds that occur in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Vocalizations of the two most commonly encountered killer whale forms, the fish-eating (resident) killer whale, and the mammal-eating (transient) killer whale, are difficult to distinguish by the untrained ear. However, for the researcher studying killer whale vocalizations they are almost as distinct as photographic images of the whales.

The vocalizations not only tell the researcher whether the calling killer whale is a resident or a transient, but also reveal to which resident or transient population or sub-population the caller belongs. If the caller is a resident, it furthermore shows who his closest relatives are. Both residents and transients use discrete calls, whistles, and clicks.

Calls and whistles are used only in social communication, while clicks are predominantly used in echolocation. A clicking killer whale produces high frequency sounds and uses the echoes of those sounds to form images of the areas around him or her. In much the same way that humans use sonar to investigate the seafloor, the ultra structure of certain materials, or medical views of the inside of our bodies, whales use echolocation to orient and find food in an environment where lighting conditions are poor.

Based on differences in usage of calls, whistles, and clicks, researchers can tell whether the whales are foraging, resting, or socializing.
With thanks to the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior.

The following audio files of Orca were downloaded from

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