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13

Tawny Frogmouth

(Podargus strigoides)
Alternate name(s): "Tawny-shouldered Frogmouth", "Tawny-shouldered Podargus", "Mopoke*"
Aboriginal name(s): "munnarn", "bingami", "coorameet", "moonyie" Race "strigoides": "buluurr" [yuwaalaraay]
Race "brachypterus": "kambekor", "kambyne" (WA)

Size: 34-52 cm
Weight: up to 680 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Tawny Frogmouth at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "strigoides"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Lateral view of a male Tawny Frogmouth - despite the impression one can get when looking straight at a Tawny Frogmouth's eyes, they are much farther on the sides of the head than those of owls such as e.g. the Southern Boobook
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, September 2012]

Pair of Tawny Frogmouths roosting during the daytime; the male is seen on the left, the female (with some rufous tints, in particular the characterisitic malar stripe behind the bill) is on the right
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2012]

Here the female Tawny Frogmouth is seen preening, while the male remains in its hunched posture
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2012]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Tawny Frogmouth on a fencepost; note the (inconspicuous) brown malar stripe on the left, starting under the eye
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Frontal portrait of a female Tawny Frogmouth that was found roosting quietly in a tree close to the nest with two chicks, which were being cared for by the male
[Narrabri, NSW, October 2010]

Frontal view of a female Tawny Frogmouth
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

The same female Tawny Frogmouth as shown above, in the "broken limb" position
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

Close-up lateral portrait of a female Tawny Frogmouth (note the faint malar stripe)

Near-frontal view of a female Tawny Frogmouth
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Here the same Tawny Frogmouth as shown above, looking sideways
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2010]

Neighbours on a roost eye-balling each other: female Tawny Frogmouth (right) and Red-rumped Parrot (left)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral portrait of an immature Tawny Frogmouth

Their rufous colours suggest that this is mom Tawny Frogmouth with a female fledgling (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)

Note how, in different light conditions, they can look much greyer (although there are still visible rufous tints); if one did not know for sure that these are the same birds, one might not want to believe it - here it is clear because of the identical setup of the two photos (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)

Do you want to know what it is like to look a Tawny Frogmouth in the eyes at night? If yes, click HERE!

Race "brachypterus"

Tawny Frogmouth, race "brachypterus", on its nest with a chick (photo courtesy of G. Mobilia)
[Bullsbrook, WA, January 2013]

Race "phalaenoides"

ADULT

MALE

Pair of Tawny Frogmouths; male above and rufous-morphology female at the bottom (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, Darwin, NT, July 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a male Tawny Frogmouth with chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, Darwin, NT, January 2016]

Dorsal view of a male Tawny Frogmouth with chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, Darwin, NT, January 2016]

FEMALE

Pair of Tawny Frogmouths - male on the right, rufous-morphology female on the left (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rapid Creek, Darwin, NT, June 2014]

l

Lateral view of a (female?) Tawny Frogmouth (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Groote Eylandt, NT, August 2014]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Dec Eggs: 3 - 6 Incubation period: 30 days Fledging age: 28 days

Given the right conditions, Tawny Frogmouths can breed at any time of the year.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Male (day), male & female (night) Dependent care: Male & female

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Rudimentary basket Material: Twigs, grass Height above ground: 2 - 15 m

The nest usually is just an untidy patch of twigs and grass spread out on a tree fork. Incubation is shared by male (daytime) and female (nighttime).

Additional information

A. Morris reports that Tawny Frogmouths like to take advantage of the protection offered by nesting under a Grey Butcherbird nest. There is now a separate page about various bird species nesting under the umbrella of a stronger, protective species.

Proud (father) Tawny Frogmouth with a hatchling (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, October 2013]

Proud Tawny Frogmouth mom with the same chick as shown above, now aged 7 days (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, October 2013]

Male Tawny Frogmouth on its nest at daytime, tending to two chicks
[Narrabri, NSW, October 2010]

Male Tawny Frogmouth on its nest at daytime, tending to two chicks (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Close-up view of one of the Tawny Frogmouth chicks (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Male Tawny Frogmouth sitting on its nest in the "broken limb" position...
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, September 2012]

Pop Tawny Frogmouth with a fluffball chick
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2012]

Tawny Frogmouth with two chicks; one is leaning its head on the parent's back, the second is lying low, with its head on its sibling's back
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, November 2006]

Male Tawny Frogmouth on its nest in an urban environment; the same nest was re-used in at least three consecutive seasons (before the tree was cut down...)
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2011]

Female Tawny Frogmouth with a chick approaching fledging age (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Ensay East, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2013]

Female Tawny Frogmouth with a chick approaching fledging age; here the two are seen in the broken limb posture (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Ensay East, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2013]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 42 x 29 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Similar to some types of owls (e.g. Barn Owls), Tawny Frogmouths do not mind roosting and/or nesting close to humans.

As nocturnal predators, Tawny Frogmouths can attract a lot of attention when spotted by other bird species during the day; in this case: a whole family clan of Blue-faced Honeyeaters (of which only one is visible), a pair of Magpie-larks, a whole family clan of Noisy Miners (of which only one is visible) and two Spotted Bowerbirds (not visible)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2013]

Food, Diet

The photo below shows that Tawny Frogmouths feed, possibly amongst other types of prey, on frogs, in particular green treefrogs.

Female Tawny Frogmouth with a Green Treefrog stuck in its throat; the bird attracted our attention with the thwacking sounds it made when killing the frog by hitting it against the branch it was sitting on
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

Adults: Frogs, insects Dependents: Pieces of adults' prey Water intake: None

Tawny Frogmouths take their liquids from their prey (frogs, insects).

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

tawny_20140902.mp3 strigoides
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
tawny_20170710.m4a strigoides
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
tawny_20150722.mp3 strigoides
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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