our animals

Tawny frogmouth

Podargus strigoides

Tawny frogmouths are often confused as being part of the owl family however they actually sit in the same group as nightjars, nighthawks and whippoorwills.

The name frogmouth refers to the shape of the beak as they have a very wide mouth with a huge gape, like a frog! These are chunky birds, with big heads and long rounded tails. Tawny frogmouths have greyish feathers, lighter below, streaked with darker grey and some reddish tints. Their large eyes have a yellow iris, and the inside of the wide heavy beak is yellow. Both males and females can reach 53 cm in length, and weigh up to 680 grams. For their size, they tend to be heavier than owls.

Frogmouths are masters of camouflage: During the day they sit motionless, with eyes closed, feathers compacted and beak upraised near the trunk of a tree or on a post, looking uncannily like a dead branch. They make a repetitive low-pitched, breathy call at night: whoo-whoo-whoo.

Once paired tawny frogmouths will usually mate for life and work together to raise their young taking turns incubating the eggs and then feeding their chicks. Often parents will sleep during the day facing each other over their nest to shield it from predators, if they sense any danger they will make a loud shrill call which tells the chicks to remain silent and use their camouflage to avoid being eaten.

Tawny Frogmouth

fun facts

Conservation Status:

Least concern




Forests, woodland, scrub and heathland


Insects, small mammals, small lizards and frogs





Incubation period:

30-32 days

Life Span:

10-12 yrs