Why does a rooster crow loudly at daybreak?

You are having a good sleep when suddenly you hear a loud noise outside your house. You woke up to find out its already morning, and the roosters are starting to crow. This scenario is not unusual to us, mainly to those people who live close to farms and rural areas. 

The sound of roosters is so typical that sometimes it becomes our natural alarm clock. Early in the morning, we often hear roosters crow so loudly, and then it is followed by other roosters around the area.

As familiar as it seems, this phenomenon often pops up a question in our minds – why does a rooster crow loudly in the morning?

Why do roosters crow?

There are various reasons why a rooster crow, and it is not only during their early morning routine since some roosters crow regardless of the time. 

Scientists believe that the crowing of roosters in the morning is a response to surrounding stimuli. Early studies of the behavior of roosters claim that they crow when the sunlight touches their eyes or when they see the morning light. However, further studies over the years debunked this earlier claim, saying that roosters crow even at different times of the day, mainly during the morning. Furthermore, roosters mostly crow hours before the sunlight reaches Earth.

This phenomenon made scientists baffled for years, and until now, there is no definite explanation as to why they crow in the morning, although recent studies show more reasonable results. 

The study led by Takashi Yoshimura held various tests on roosters. These experiments conducted by Yoshimura created milestones in the course of roosters’ behavior.

He and his team placed the roosters in various environments, which lasts for several weeks. As a result, the roosters crowed all day every time a stimulus is being presented to them. However, this result is not enough to explain why they crow during the day. So they conducted another experiment, wherein they placed a group of roosters in a well-lit environment for a total of twelve hours, followed by complete darkness for another twelve hours – which sums up to one day. The team repeats the process of putting the roosters to light and dark for two weeks, which showed remarkable results. 

As mentioned earlier, roosters indeed crow hours before the daybreak, as if they are anticipating the upcoming sunlight – the team verified this phenomenon from the previous experiment. Furthermore, the crowing of roosters comes along with showing dominance and territory, similar to dogs; they could also be territorial. Hours before the daybreak, the roosters start to crow. However, they do not crow randomly. Instead, there is a dominant rooster who will lead the crowing. Once the alpha rooster crows, the rest of the group will follow. This synchronized crowing is one behavior that the team observed during the earlier tests.

Apart from this, the team conducted another test, wherein they placed the roosters in a dark room for twenty-four hours a day. The experiment lasts for days as the team studies how the roosters would react in such an environment. Surprisingly, the roosters still crow hours before the daybreak, as if it was just an ordinary day. The results were significant, and it led to the conclusion that roosters indeed crow the same time of the day, which is roughly two hours before the daybreak.

Yoshimura elaborated that roosters have an internal body clock, which tells them if its time to crow. Because based on the previous experiments, light doesn’t seem to affect the behavior of roosters, that is why even in a dark room, they crow during the same time of the day. Interestingly, roosters crow hours before daybreak regardless of whether there are any stimuli presented or not. Unlike the earlier claims that roosters anticipate the upcoming light during the day, a more detailed explanation is they have an internal body clock that programs them to crow during a specific time of the day. 

Although, as mentioned earlier, there is no particular explanation about the more profound behavior of roosters. There is just a claim that roosters have an internal body clock. However, we don’t know what that body clock is or how does it work.

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