Tawny Frogmouth, Adelaide Zoo

Tawny Frogmouth, Adelaide Zoo

It is not easy to get good photos of nocturnal birds like the Tawny Frogmouth shown above.

I have had some unusual opportunities to get good shots of the Southern Boobook Owl, Spotted Nightjar and the Australian Owlet Nightjar in the past, but generally it is more a matter of taking unique opportunities when they present themselves.

The Tawny Frogmouth is certainly one of my favourite birds. We first encountered this fascinating bird while camping at Hattah Lakes in Victoria many years ago. The bird on that occasion was perched on a branch above our tent calling persistently and annoyingly – until we found out what it was in our torchlight. Once we knew what it was we were able to relax and get some sleep. Its “oom-oom-oom-oom” call has an unusual quality; it seems to be coming from far off but can be only metres away.

Tawny Frogmouths are found throughout Australia in a wide range of habitats. While they are most often heard at night it is possible to see them during the day. If other birds become aware of them roosting in a tree they can draw attention to the bird by mobbing it. I’ve expereinced this a number of times in recent years. While I can’t say this is a resident species in our garden, it is probably a more frequent visitor than we realise. It is certainly present in our district and we are only aware of one when we hear it calling at night.

The above photo is the best I have of this species but it is not brilliant. It was taken through the wire of an aviary at Adelaide Zoo.

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3 Responses to “Tawny Frogmouth, Adelaide Zoo”

  1. This photo shows well the reason why this bird can be hard to spot out in the wild sometimes. When it’s sitting in a tree it looks just like a broken off branch.

    I know I’ve seen one around where I live, I think along the road from Mallala to Gawler. It was a long time ago, so I’m not completely sure now.

    I usually look at these birds when we go to the Adelaide Zoo. They seem so serene and wise.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    We love seeing and hearing any of the nocturnal bird species because we don’t get to see them all that often. I guess they are always around – it’s jut that we are not often aware of them.

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