When Do Coyotes Howl: Most Variant Vocalist

Ever heard the song of a coyote….? you might have heard them howling many times especially if you abide around the area or nearby, where the sighting of the animal is common. In this article, we will be knowing about when do coyotes howl and what is the meaning of different howling sounds.

Coyotes mostly howl in the night, however, they prey also in the dark. The very basic communication behavior is howling among the coyotes. There can be many different indications and meanings of a coyote’s howl.

When Do Coyotes Howl

The animal has been described as “the most vocal of all North American mammal”.  Moreover, if a coyote is an adult, it can have at least 11 types of different vocalizations and each may have a different meaning.

Mostly they howl to keep in touch with the other coyotes in the area or with their pack. Sometimes they howl to demonstrate their existence to other packs and to make sure if some other coyote enters their territory. They don’t really howl when they attack humans, isn’t it interesting to know Do coyotes attack humans.

Primarily coyotes howl and yip to communicate with each other and establish the territory. When they defend the den or maybe kill, they can bark. Their howl can be heard far from 3 to 5 miles. It can be twice the distance you estimate.

Once a group of coyotes starts howling, chances are that any other alpha pairs nearby will respond in kind, with chorus after chorus of group yip-howls rippling across the miles.

Sound of Coyotes is Classified Into Three Categories

Growls, woofs, huffs, barks, bark howls, yelps, and high-frequency whines.
Low-frequency whines, 'wow-oo-wows', and group yip howls
Lone howls, group howls and group yip howls

1. Agonistic:-

The first category of vocalization includes woofs, growls, huffs, barks, bark howls, yelps, and high-frequency whines. Coyotes use each of them in a different situation and transmitting a unique message to the pack.

Woofs:- are low-intensity threats or alarms which can be usually heard nearby the coyote’s den while protecting their pups and alerting the pack of any danger. This sound is generally made by large dogs but, this animal is also belonged to the dog family and does create this sound.

Growls:- are used as threats at short distances. It is a deep guttural inarticulate sound. They can also be heard when pups play and copulate with males. Besides that, When they attack they growl.

Huffs:- are high-intensity threat vocalizations. These are produced by the rapid expiration of air.

Barks:- can be classified as long-distance threat vocalizations and also as alarm calls. Usually, a coyote barks while protecting his food or kill.

Bark howls:- may serve similar functions to beware the other coyote to stay away from its territory.

Yelps:- are emitted as a sign of submission. The yelp takes the whine-up mark and represents high-severity submission.

High-frequency whines:- are produced by chief animals acknowledging the submission of subordinates.


In the second category of the coyote’s vocalization there are Low-frequency whines, ‘wow-oo-wows’, and group yip howls. In this category, coyotes denote greetings, reunion, and gathering of the pack and other coyotes.


Low-frequency whines:- are emitted by courteous animals and are usually inclusive of tail wagging and muzzle nibbling.

Group yip howl:- is thrown when two or more pack members reunite, and maybe the final act of an intricate salutation ceremony. Group yip-howls are ordinarily produced by a mated and territorial pair of “alpha” coyotes, with the male howling.

If you hear a coyote sounds ‘wow-oo-wows’, this sound is called the “Greeting song”.


The contact sound includes Lone howls, group howls, and group yip howls. These sounds are the most famous sound that people generally hear.

The lone howl:- is the most iconic sound of the coyote so that a coyote gets separated from its pack it creates this sound.

Group howls:- are used as both substitute group yip howls and as responses to lone howls.


According to researchers with the Caesar Kieberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University played recordings of 1-4 coyotes howling and yip-yapping and asked people to estimate how many coyotes they can hear howling. Listeners continuously overestimated the number of coyotes by nearly two-fold.

Generally, there is no need to be so much concerned if you hear a coyote howling until they are not showing any aggressive behavior towards humans or pets.

Do Coyotes Howl After a Kill?

Howling and yipping are the sounds which coyotes use to establishing contact and transmitting messages among them. Many of us have mistakenly believed that howling denotes coyotes pack has made a kill.


They howl for a variety of reasons, they avoid howling when down a prey because doing so would draw attention and might attract competing coyotes or other predators to their location. But they may bark while defending their kill.

Why do Coyotes Howl At The Moon?


Howling can be heard in the night often. Moon provides light and helps coyotes to see in dense and dark forest. They generally hunt in the night. It may seem they are howling at the moon but they just howl to each other just for the communication. Bright moonlight night is good for hunting. They can easily see their prey and also can get aware of other predators in the wild.

If you have heard coyotes howl and yips in your area or anywhere else, let us know your experience in the comment section down below. let us know if this article was helpful for you or you can add your thoughts also.

By David Grey

David Grey is born & raised in Bozeman Montana, USA. He has been hunting & fishing since 2009. And used most of the outdoor gear during his 12 years of hunting experience. He likes to spend most of the time in the woods, on the trail, or by the water. He taught us about his outdoor journey and equipment experience.


  1. We were sitting out by the fire last night and about 9:30 pm were heard yipping and howling to the nw of our property. We are in an rv resort. Our 9 month old started barking at them. They seemed awfully close so we decided to go into our trailer with our dog in case they were wanting to come down closer to where we were.

  2. How Many Coyotes Are Howling ? “When people hear coyote howls, they often mistakenly assume that they’re hearing a large pack of animals, all raising their voices at once,” writes Mitchell. “But this is an auditory illusion called the …

  3. Well I have awaken 4 times this week from coyotes high pitch barking and such. It’s a horrible sound like an animal in distress. I don’t know what to do, how to live with this every other night. It’s quite frightening the first time I heard them and was trembling. Lived here in this house 39 yrs and never had them in my yard like this and actually never saw one until about a year ago.

  4. I heard them for the first time tonight in our neighborhood’s yard and then ours, and the howling was frightening. I was very shaken by the severe bark-howl. It sounded like an animal in extreme distress. We haven’t seen any in the area in years, so it’s even more distressing. Having read this and others information has made it clear that I can’t let my dogs go out to the yard with out monitoring them closely, and being prepared to cause a ruckus (whistles, horns, etc.) to scare them away should we see them. I’m still feeling unsettled by there presence.

  5. I love the vocalization of coyotes. It is a primitive sound that reminds me that humans may THINK they are the supreme creatures on this planet, but that just might not be true. The coyotes are welcomed on my farm…

  6. We live in a rural area in a very small town. The population is about 992 people. Our house is on a dead end street and we’re surrounded by fields on all sides. When we first moved out here, we would very rarely hear coyotes and they sounded like they were pretty far away. Now, in the last several years, we hear them every single day and they don’t wait until dark to start howling. They howl several different times, from early evening to the next morning. We see them pretty frequently when we’re outside walking our dogs, also early evening and into the night. It’s not unheard of to see one or two of them walking through the neighborhood, and they don’t get in a hurry like they are afraid or anything. A couple times a year, there’s a farmer that hunts for their dens and shoots as many as he can, but you can’t really tell any difference. It still sounds like there’s just as many as before. It’s getting worse every year and it gets kinda scary sometimes. I never go outside without a flashlight so I can look around while I’m walking or something. It’s a very scary thing to hear something whining and shine the flashlight towards the sound and see the eyes all lit up just staring at you.

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