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A common staple in fiction, roosters are often shown to crow at daybreak. In fact, almost all works set on a farm have this happening. In many depictions, a rooster's crowing itself is what brings the sun up.

In certain works, the rooster is replaced with a creature more suited to the setting.

Related to Wolves Always Howl at the Moon, which is when wolves howl at dusk, and Spooky Animal Sounds, which often accompany a creepy nighttime atmosphere.

Truth in Television. While roosters will crow at any time of day or night, the likelihood they will crow is determined by their circadian rhythm, which means their "crowing potential" peaks around dawn.

See also Cocky Rooster, another stereotype associated with roosters. If an artificial bird is used to indicate the time of day, it's usually a Cuckoo Clock Gag.


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  • This trope is why a rooster is used as a symbol for insomnia for Ambien (prescription sleep aid) commercials.
  • It's also part of the reason it's the symbol of cornflakes, originally with the slogan "Wake up to Kellogg's Cornflakes!" (The other part is that a Welsh-speaking friend of the Kelloggs told them that "ceiliog" was Welsh for rooster.)
  • There is also a 2001 commercial for the series premiere of "Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck" where the Whammy (in his 1983 PYL appearance) does this.
  • A NyQuil commercial has a guy in bed with a cold as we hear crowing in the background. His wife suggests he take some NyQuil, saying it'll help him sleep like he did before the rooster went blind. It's then revealed that said rooster is crowing in the middle of the night.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Doctor Slump, this is done by a pig.
  • The Fox & Little Tanuki: The Naganakidori are divine chickens who serve the Sun Goddess - which is true to many myths about her in Japanese tradition - so this trope is naturally in mind. Their crowing can mark other events ordained by her as well, such as Senzou's release from being sealed.
  • In Pani Poni Dash!, Serizawa would often dress as a rooster, climb on top of a pole, and announce the time of day.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, a Dodrio can be seen atop Oak's laboratory at daybreak making a three time crowing.

    Asian Animation 
  • Tooba Tooba Noonbory has a variation; the rooster sings at daybreak.
  • In episode 1 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons, a rooster calls each time the sun rises. Since alien interference is unintentionally making the days and nights go faster, the rooster ends up signalling the sunrise so many times that it gives up. Twice.

    Comic Books 
  • Featured as a running gag in a lot of Asterix adventures; the village rooster's not terribly bright and often snoozes till midday or else wakes everyone up at 3 a.m. Averted in Asterix and the Cauldron, where Asterix discovers the emptying of the cauldron just before daybreak and rouses all the villagers, so the rooster considers crowing unnecessary.
  • Subverted in an album of Léonard le Génie.
    Basile: Future belongs to the ones that wake up early. That's why I happily jump out of my bed at the rooster's first crowing...
    Leonardo: You forgot to say you managed to find the only rooster that doesn't crow before noon, lazybones.
  • A Running Joke in Valhalla is a grumpy Thor throwing his hammer at a rooster for waking him up. The rooster in Valhalla has learnt to dodge it; ones in other houses get an unpleasant surprise. Or to elaborate, all roosters know that they have to duck, but roosters other than the ones at Valhalla and Bilskirner don't know to dodge Mjolnir on the return (Mjolnir famously returning to the thrower's hand).
  • Double Subverted in Rivers of London: Monday Monday, where DI Stephanopolis and her wife Pam don't understand why their rooster only crows at dusk ... because they haven't realised that at dawn, they're making too much noise themselves to notice.

    Comic Strips 
  • Roy the Rooster from U.S. Acres does this, but instead of letting out a crow, he uses a bugle or even electronic audio speakers.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "The Black Thief and the Knight of the Glen", the thief escapes the shape-shifting witches only because the cock crows.
  • In the Indonesian folktale of "Roro Jonggrang" (link), the brash Bandung Bondowoso asked Roro Jonggrang to marry him, and to prove his worth he set out to build 1000 shrines in a night with the help of his army of djinns. Roro Jonggrang, fearing that Bandung might succeed, asked the locals to pound rice on mortars and wake the roosters to crow, so that the djinns are fooled into thinking it's morning already and left. The same trope is also used in another folktale Sangkuriang.

    Fan Works 
  • Parodied in the Ultra Fast Pony episode "Hail to the Queen". Instead of crowing, the rooster shouts "Cock!" As Applejack starts to speak, the rooster interrupts with "A-doodle!" and again with "Doo." Then it interrupts with "Penis!" causing Applejack to give up and skip to the next scene.

    Films — Animation 
  • Played for laughs in Chicken Run. Fowler the rooster is seen at sun rise at the beginning of a scene, where he loudly shouts in very obvious English, "COCKADOODLEDOO!... What what!"
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a ratbird crows, heralding the beginning of an ice cream snow day.
  • Home on the Range plays with this trope; Reggie, the resident rooster on Patch of Heaven, is fast asleep when we first see him, but one of his sons (still a tiny chick) lets out a mighty crow, startling him off his perch.
    Reggie (to Grace and Mrs. Calloway): Hey, that's my boy!
  • Played for Laughs in James and the Giant Peach, when the titular peach breaks loose from the tree and begins rolling toward the ocean, there's a cut to a rooster on a fence, with the peach rolling up over the hillside in the background. The rooster starts to crow, only to get run over by the giant fruit.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: True to form, a rooster crows with the rising sun in Halloween Town. A completely skeletal rooster who doesn't even have the chords to crow with.
  • Rock-A-Doodle involves the sun not rising at all unless the rooster crows.
  • A rooster is heard to crow right before daybreak in Yellow Submarine, which is odd since the meanies seem to have turned every other living creature to stone.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Babe, where a duck crows to avoid being eaten. This really annoys not only the actual rooster, who sees it as his job but can never wake up early enough to beat the duck, but also the farmers, who opt to buy an alarm clock.
    Esme Hoggett: We've got to do something about that duck.
  • Part of the Establishing Character Moment for heroine Nastenka in Morozko (The Russo-Finnish Jack Frost, as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000); her Wicked Stepmother's making her knit a load of socks by dawn; despite knitting at ludicrous speed, she resorts to using her Friend to All Living Things credentials to beg the neighborhood rooster to give her more time. The rooster explains that he has to follow this trope, and suggests that she asks the sun instead. She does. It works.
  • Justified in the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R., as the protagonist lives on a ranch.
  • This was a Running Gag in Son in Law, to the point of Crawl (Pauly Shore) telling the rooster to "give it a rest".
  • Two Cents Worth of Hope: A rooster crowing is used to set the scene when Antonio gets back into town in the early morning after one of his mysterious overnight trips to Naples. A rooster crowing is heard again when his sister is getting married early in the morning at a Shotgun Wedding that everyone's embarrassed about. This despite the fact the movie is set in a town, not a farm.
  • Muppets from Space: Camilla crows at the dawn of the Muppet Boarding House.

  • Beware of Chicken: The titular Chicken, Bi De, regularly "greets the sun" almost from his first appearance. When he goes out on a quest and one of his non-sapient offspring takes over, Jin notes that it just isn't the same.
  • The title character in Bill Peet's Cock-a-Doodle Dudley. As it turns out, his crowing does actually have some influence over the sun rising, because he's far more enthusiastic than the other roosters, which makes him a favorite with the sun.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, Severian comes across a totem that has been hung up by a cult, consisting of a rooster's decapitated head with pins stuck through its eyes. He guesses that since roosters announce the dawn, and the pins serve to blind it, the people who made the totem are working against the return of the New Sun.
  • Discworld:
    • In the novel Reaper Man, there is Cyril the Rooster, who never remembers to crow at the right time till he is given the words "Cock-a-Doodle Doo" to read by Death. Unfortunately, it turns out Cyril is also dyslexic. "Dock-a-loodle-fod!"
    • In Wyrd Sisters there's a spell that must by completed before the first rooster crows. Nanny Ogg has her vast army of children and grandchildren gag all of the area's roosters so the spell will work even if takes until after dawn to finish it. Given that this is such a witchy response to this kind of limitation, one must wonder why Granny Weatherwax is so concerned with doing the spell the "right" way and disapproves of Nanny's loophole.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer's Chanticleer thinks that the sun rises because he crows. Pertelote persuades him not to crow one morning, and he is shocked when it still rises.
  • In one Encyclopedia Brown story, high school dropout/con artist Wilford Wiggins tries to get kids to invest in a device that can control birds. He demonstrates its abilities by making a rooster crow at sunset. Encyclopedia ruins the scam by pointing out that since the rooster had been kept under a blanket beforehand, it probably thought the sun was rising instead of setting.
  • The book The Enormous Egg starts with a mini-plot about the family's chicken, Ezekiel, who crows every morning, annoying the neighbors. The solution is to put him in the cellar at night and not let him out until well after sunup, so he doesn't know when its dawn and therefore doesn't crow.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf's confrontation with the Lord of the Nazgûl at the gates of Minas Tirith is interrupted by a rooster crowing somewhere in the city, heralding that the sorcerous cloud which has hidden the sun for three days and aided Sauron's darkness-loving armies is dispersing. Sure enough, the battle starts to turn with the arrival of the dawn and what it brings:
    "And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last."
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Subverted. Agathe knows their journey is over and she and Sébastien are back in Saint-Isidore when she hears a rooster night. It is Miss Brousse's rooster, who always crows at the wrong hour.
  • A Hole in the Fence: Played for laughs when Grisón wakes up with the cock's song, shocking and delighting his parents' rooster because Grisón NEVER gets up early in the morning and his laziness was damaging the poor birds' self-image.
  • Invoked by Zarathustra in Thus Spake Zarathustra:
    "Up, abysmal thought out of my depth! I am thy cock and morning dawn, thou overslept reptile: Up! Up! My voice shall soon crow thee awake!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • The opening sequence to The Big Comfy Couch begins with a rooster crowing.
  • Recycled In Space in The Book of Boba Fett when a pterosaur-like critter on Tatooine crows exactly like a rooster in the morning. This is done at the end of a Hard-Work Montage, showing that Din, Peli and her pit droids have spent the entire night restoring the N-1 Starfighter, which they then roll out into the light of the rising twin suns for a flight test.
  • Mentioned in Friends, Chandler and Joey's pet chick, now a full grown rooster, apparently has a habit of waking up the whole apartment building at dawn, though only Monica and Rachel know that they own it.
  • Full Frontal. Combined with Ring-Ring-CRUNCH! in one skit where the crowing is interrupted by a gunshot.
  • Hospital Playlist: The series of flashbacks showing Jung-won sobbing on an annual basis to his brother about how being a doctor is hard, and he wants to quit, are made even funnier by the sound of a rooster crowing the dawn each time. In the big city of Seoul.
  • A rooster crow is heard in LazyTown whenever the sun comes up.
  • In Real Life in Travelogue Show Long Way Down. Ewan McGregor, cohost Charley Boorman, and their team stop for the night in a roadside village in Zambia. Charley notices a rooster strutting about the village, notes that it will probably wake them up way too early next morning crowing at the dawn, then says "We could eat it." The rooster remains uneaten, and sure enough, the next morning it's shown crowing at the dawn.
  • In The Office, Dwight hints that a rooster wakes him up every morning. Not surprising since he lives on a farm.
  • When Kramer buys a rooster in Seinfeld, it makes its presence known to Jerry by crowing early in the morning and waking him up.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: This is the first thing Xena hears every morning when she gets stuck repeating the same day over and over. At one point she even tries to end the cycle by ending the rooster, with a chakram. It doesn't work.
  • Played with in M*A*S*H, when BJ receives a mystery novel titled "The Rooster Crowed at Midnight."
  • Clarkson's Farm: In season two, Jeremy buys roosters for the chicken coop on his farm. Predictably, they end up crowing at every sunrise and waking him up... which quickly irritates him due to sunrise happening at 4 in the morning. Over time, the crowing turns out to be more useful than expected, since it gives Jeremy more room to get to work on the farm.

  • The Beatles' "Good Morning" starts with a rooster.
  • Black Sabbath's Sleeping Village depicts a remote hamlet at night and gives an ominous feeling something is going to happen to disturb its nocturnal peace and ease. It specifically refers to cockerels crying - in the middle of the night.
  • Camille Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre", which begins When the Clock Strikes Twelve, has its climax interrupted by the crow of an oboe, after which the diminuendo is quick.
  • Frank Harris and Maria Marquez' version of the Venezuelan folk song "Canto del Pilon" has a rooster crowing prominently among other animals in the instrumental break.note 
  • Santana's "Veracruz" has this near the beginning.
  • Referenced in "The Ball Bearing Bird" by Frankie Davidson:
    Just like the rooster that crows in the morn
    It is thought to explode like a shotgun at dawn
    It is said to be best to be out of the way
    When it's loaded with shot and it's ready to spray.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Referred to in The Four Gospels, in which Jesus correctly predicts that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows.
  • The first one of the Morning Blessings in Judaism is "Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who gives the rooster comprehension to distinguish night and day".
  • In Shintoism roosters are associated with Amaterasu, the sun goddess. When she locks herself in a cave the other gods decide to draw her out with roosters, though this doesn't work.
  • In Aboriginal Australian myths kookaburras take a similar role, with their laughter causing the sun to rise.
  • In Eastern Slavic myths, demons appear after the sun sets; they roam freely through the night until the rooster crows thrice. If anyone of them would not be able to escape until the third crow, symbolizing the beginning of the day, this would be fatal to them.
  • The Mesopotamian god Nergal, associated with the sun and its more devastating sides like fire and plague, had the rooster as his sacred animal.

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    Western Animation 
  • Garfield and Friends: In the U.S. Acres segments, Roy Rooster has a paying job to wake up everyone in the morning, but he oversleeps often so his timing is very inaccurate.
  • One episode of The Angry Beavers spoofed this by having a bear crow. At the end of the episode, Dagget asks, "Norbert, what is wrong with that bear?"
  • At the very beginning of "Der Fuehrer's Face", a rooster can be heard crowing "Heil Hitler!" while performing a Hitler pose outside Donald Duck's chalet (which for some reason, resembles Adolf Hitler's face).
  • One episode of Dora the Explorer involves Dora and Boots helping a rooster crow to "wake up the sun".
  • There's a rooster who crows at dawn in The Fairly OddParents!, which, on one occasion, explodes.
  • One episode of Handy Manny involves a rooster crowing and waking one of Manny's friends up too early.
  • For some inexplicable reason, in Lilo & Stitch: The Series, a rooster's crow is often heard whenever a scene cuts to the outside shot of the Pelekais' house. Sure, Kauaʻi has a lot of chickens living on the island, but that doesn't explain why the crowing almost always happens for that particular shot.
  • Whenever daybreak is shown in Little Princess, a rooster is seen sitting in a tree and crowing.
  • Martha Speaks: In "T.D. and Martha Gopher Broke", a rooster crows at dawn once. Justified, as they're on a farm which explicitly contains chickens.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", Applejack remembers when she left the farm for the big city and is surprised to find that city folk have no concept of a rooster. Homesick, she watches the sun rise the next morning and sadly cock-a-doodle-doos to herself.
  • A rooster is heard crowing offscreen in Peppa Pig whenever daybreak is shown.
  • A rooster can be heard crowing in the background in the Recess episode "Good Ole T.J.", after T.J. pulls an all-nighter to revise his and Gretchen's project. This is the only time this trope is used in the show.
  • This is played straight on several episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show, but gets inverted in the "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen" episode, where a rooster is shown howling like a wolf.
  • A sight gag in the Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon "Dr. O" has the sun repeatedly coming out and disappearing as Secret Squirrel struggles with the controls of Dr. O's sun-blocking satellite. A rooster farmer is seen crowing when the sun comes out, and stopping when it disappears again. Eventually, the light starts changing so fast he keeps getting cut off, and he eventually gives up.
  • A rooster crows in the Title Sequence of Shaun the Sheep and the reason why it's this trope is because the intro involves the farmer getting ready in the morning. In the Christmas Episode The Flight Before Christmas, this gets subverted twice: On Christmas Eve, a turkey throws snowballs at him and takes his place, and on Christmas morning, the turkey hastily puts the rooster back in place after seeing the farmer approaching with an axe. (He's just getting firewood.)
  • At the end of The Skeleton Dance (like in the "Danse Macabre" example under Music), a rooster crowing signals that the skeletons have to stop dancing and get back in their graves.
  • In one of Smurfette's Imagine Spots from The Smurfs (1981) cartoon special "Smurfily Ever After", Farmer does the honors of crowing at dawn to wake up his wife when Smurfette imagines herself being married to him.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, the crowing is done by scallops.
  • In the classic Tex Avery MGM cartoon Cock A Doodle Dog, Spike the Bulldog has his sleep interrupted by a rooster with an especially obnoxious crow. After various backfiring attempts to shut the bird up, Spike winds up crowing loudly by the rooster's house after the rooster goes to bed.
  • Among Warner Bros. cartoons where this is affected is "Porky's Poultry Plant" and "Each Dawn I Crow." In "Chicken Jitters," a rooster flaps its wings and inhales deeply, ready to crow, but instead he yells "Hey, fellas! Wake up!!!"
    • In the Foghorn Leghorn cartoon "Crowing Pains", Henery Hawk says that rooster crow at dawn and proposes that Sylvester, Barnyard Dawg and Foghorn wait until then to see who crows, so Henery can figure out which one of them is really a chicken.
  • In Cow and Chicken, Cow threatens to tell their parents that Chicken is the one who crows every morning at sunrise unless he does what she asks.
  • Jelly Jamm: At the end of "Jammbo's Many Worlds", when Bello decides he'll stay to play with Ongo for a little while longer, the sun starts to rise and the morning is heralded by a rooster crowing.
  • Parodied on Family Guy: in a cutaway, a trio of roosters crow except the developmentally disabled rooster who utters "Good night, everybody".
  • Teen Titans: Beast Boy literally does this dawn at the tower in at least one episode.
  • Discussed and averted in Star vs. the Forces of Evil. In one of the final episodes, "Here to Help", the Big Bad states that she'll give until a nearby rooster crows for the protagonists to surrender. Marco assumes that this means they have several hours to figure out a plan, only for Star to incredulously reply that they most likely don't.
    Marco: So is that rooster gonna crow at sunrise or something?
    Star: What? No. It's a dumb bird, Marco. It crows whenever it wants.

    Real Life 


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