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Tawny Frogmouth

Not an owl. Not a branch, either!

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When this bird senses danger it tucks its feathers in, stretches tall and freezes like a branch.

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.

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.

Precinct
Nocturnal House
Other name
Kambany (Nyoongar)
Scientific name
Podargus strigoides
Conservation status
Least Concern
Body length
34–53 cm
Weight
290–680 g
Class
Bird
Gestation
28–32 days
Number of young
1–3
Distribution
Throughout Australia and Tasmania
Habitat
All habitats except heavy rainforest and treeless deserts
Region
Australia