Since my posting of elephants recording I recently did in Kenya I received a knowlegdeable reply from Amy who directed my attention to some websites that helped me understand what I was hearing on encountering the elephants. So here are some links:

First, Katy Payne, who together with Roger Payne, recorded humpback whales in the late 60s and put them on a record that turned out to be one of the most successful field recordings ever, has changed her attention to the vocalization of elephants for the past 30 years or so. On this site, one can hear, next to her old whale recordings, great cuts of mating elephants, found under the link “communication in the wild”. Fantastic sound quality, a lot of detail and depth, highly recommended! In 1984 she and other researchers discovered that elephants make infrasonic calls to one another at distances as high as ten kilometers. She is also the founder of the Elephant Listening Project.

Katy Payne works frequently with Joyce Poole of Elephant Voices, which is another site with plenty of information about elephant sounds. Joyce and Petter of Elephant Voices were also part of discovering elephants ability to imitate sounds. At about the same time Angela Steoger-Horwath of the Vienese Zoo Schönbrunn made recordings of a captive male African elephant who had been raised with Asian females and was making Asian elephant chirping sounds, meaning that this orphaned elephant was capable of learning another dialect. The results of this research were published in Nature and led to many following articles.