Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny TrogmouthScientific Name: Podargus strigoides
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Body Length: 34–53 cm
Weight: 290–680 g
Gestation: 28–32 days
Number of young: 1–3

Distribution: Throughout Australia and Tasmania.
Habitat: All habitats except heavy rainforest and treeless deserts.

Description: This curious-looking bird has a wide, frog-like beak and large yellow eyes to help it catch insects at night. It has bristles above its beak and mottled brown, black and white plumage which provides excellent camouflage.

Diet: The Tawny Frogmouth is a carnivore. It feasts on insects, worms, slugs, snails and small lizards, and catches some prey, like moths, in mid air.

In the wild: At the slightest hint of danger, Tawny Frogmouths compact their feathers, stand very still and close their eyes to mimic a broken branch. They nest in trees and hunt at night. You might have a Tawny Frogmouth in your garden and not know it.
Both male and female Frogmouths will incubate the eggs during breeding season (August–December).

Threats: Unfortunately, Tawny Frogmouths are often killed in road accidents. Insects are attracted by vehicle headlights and street lighting and all too often the Tawny Frogmouth follows into oncoming traffic.

At Perth Zoo: You can find our group of Tawny Frogmouths in the aviary at the Nocturnal House exit. Join the Perth Zoo-coordinated Night Stalk from 1 September to 16 October and spotlight for native animals in your local bushland. Night Stalk is a great way to become involved in community conservation action and to learn about our native animals, their habitat and their threats. Night Stalk is sponsored by Tronox.

Did you know? Tawny Frogmouths are not owls. Although they look similar, Frogmouths are more closely related to nightjars, which are nocturnal birds known for having long wings and short beaks.

Download the Tawny Frogmouth fact sheet (pdf).

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