Elephant Call Types Database
Trumpets are produced by a forceful expulsion of air through the trunk and come in several forms. Trumpets are mainly tonal sounds, though harmonics are overlaid with noise. Most last less than a second (though extremely long trumpets may last over 3 seconds).
An elephant can produce a wide variety of sounds by varying the speed of air it forces through its trunk, by the shape in which it holds its trunk and by its own body posture and movement. Elephants tend to trumpet when they are highly stimulated - in situations where they may be fearful, surprised, aggressive, playful or socially excited - and the quality of trumpeting varies with the context.
Trumpeting is often associated with intensely social events such as a birth, mating or greeting ceremony, where group participation is important. In these situations trumpeting seems to function as a kind of "exclamation mark", expressing the very high level of excitement and importance of the event.