Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

I had a real treat today: I spotted three Tawny Frogmouths, and they were in a reasonable accessible place for photography.

Tawny Frogmouths are odd, appealing birds. They’re related to nightjars, and look a bit like owls. What makes them special is their very wide beaks. When a Tawny Frogmouth opens his mouth, it looks as if his head has split in half!

Being night birds, they sleep during the day. Their camouflage is amazing. With their grey dappled, striped feathers, they look just like bits of old wood. They take advantage of this fact by arranging themselves artistically on old tree trunks. Spot the three birds in this photo:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

Common name: Tawny Frogmouth

Scientific name: Podargus strigoides

Approximate length: 34-52 cm

Date spotted: 15 December 2013

Season: Summer

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: -33.778347,151.249715

Bird number 1 is the star of the show, chilling out at the front of the trio. Here are some close-ups:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

I love the stylish tufts above the beak!

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

From another angle:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

Bird number 2 is on the right in the back row of the trio. I think this one was the designated sentry. Half awake:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

Photographer spotted, both eyes wide open:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out

This is bird number 3, on the left  in the back row of the trio, all fluffed up and cute. Perhaps a juvenile:

Tawny Frogmouths chilling out


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 2013/12/15, in Birds, Frogmouth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Oh, what a difference a space makes… first mental image to the word “nightjar” wasn’t very appealing, but it turns out I was thinking of a “night jar”.

    Nice owl-tography though 🙂

    • Thanks Jerry… I think. 😉 I’d never heard of a “night jar” before, and now the mental image is threatening to haunt me, even though I’m still not sure what it is. But that’s not an invitation for anyone to tell me via a comment on this post. I think I’d probably rather remain in blissful ignorance!

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