CREATURE FEATURE: Tawny Frogmouth

The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a grey-feathered bird found in Australia and Asia that has a large beak that looks like a frog’s mouth. The top of the beak has tufts of bristles. It is not an owl; it is from the Nightjar family.

The Tawny Frogmouth is a big-headed stocky bird with rounded wings and short legs, often mistaken for owls, because they are both nocturnal (active mainly at night) and they both have front-facing eyes. The word strigoides means owl-form.

One difference between Tawny Frogmouths and owls is that owls catch their prey (mice) with their feet, but Tawny Frogmouths catch their prey with their beaks. They are carnivorous and eat moths, spiders, worms, snails, beetles, ants, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, and sometimes lizards and frogs.

Tawny frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

They can measure 34-53 centimetres (13-21 inches) long. They are a medium-sized bird, but they are well camouflaged in trees (and practically invisible).

The breeding season of Tawny Frogmouths is from August to December. Males and females build their nest of twigs and leaves. Females usually lay 1-3 eggs, and both males and females take turns in sitting on the eggs until they hatch. Both parents feed their chicks. Young Tawny Frogmouths take 25-35 days to develop into an adult.

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

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