Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tawny Frogmouth

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Caprimulgiformes
Family : Podargidae
Genus : Podargus 
Species : strigoides

Length : 9-21in (22.5-52.5cm)

IUCN Status : Least Concern

Tawny Frogmouths sure look like Owls, don't they? But they aren't! These birds, native to Australia, are actually more closely related to Nightjars and Whippoorwills. Tawny Frogmouths have a very large range across their home continent, and can be found in a multitude of woodland habitats.

Tawny Frogmouths are nocturnal, and nest in trees during they day. They have feathers that camouflage them, and make them difficult to see while on branches. When threatened, the straighten their bodies so that they resemble part of the tree. Young frogmouths are born in nests built in treeforms. They are covered in white down and will remain int he nest for about 4 weeks. Partners mate for life, and often reuse the same nest year after year.

Unlike Owls who hunt with their feet, Tawny Frogmouths hunt with their large mouths (their feet are actually pretty weak). They eat insects and other small invertebrates almost exclusively. Many birds hunt insects by flying around, but Frogmouths wait for their prey to come to them before pouncing down after it.

Tawny Frogmouths are one of my favorite birds, just based on their appearance alone. Do a Google Image Search for these guys, they have such awesome looking faces.

(Images are of the Tawny Frogmouth at the Milwaukee County Zoo, take by me.)

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