The Frogmouth: Celebrating This Bizarre Birdo Species

Frogmouth solomon's birds in Thattekad Kerala India
Some frogmouths. Can you spot them? Thanks to Siddarth.P.Raj for putting this up under the Creative Commons.

This odd looking bird species is the frogmouth. It’s a bird. But they all have mouths like a frog. Such is the colossal variation of species on this planet, you can live a life without knowing these frog/owl-like dudes exist. So, hop onboard for a ribbit (a bit) of a closer look!

Frogmouths

The species, of which there are around 14 separate genuses, are found across the Indian Subcontinent and also live across Asia and Australia.

It’ll come as no surprise they have this name thanks to the strange hooked bill and odd gaping expression they have. It looks like they’re silently judging you from a distance.

Take, for example, the moody looking Sri Lankan frogmouth in the video below and its mighty tweeting noise.

Its obstinate expression states, “I’ll chirp when I can bloody well be arsed chirping, thanks very much”.

Part of their getup clearly acts as a camouflage technique. Like with the tawny frogmouth that’s indigenous to Australia and Tasmania.

Although it looks a bit austere in its resplendent pose, it’s still a total master of disguise. Chameleons? Utterly pathetic next to the frogmouth.

Some of the other quirks of the species include a disastrous nest building ability. Apparently, they’re just not very good at it.

Very little arrangement goes into nest assemblage – the male just dumps a few twigs and leaves in one place and that does it. Absolutely nothing goes into securing the nest in any way.

They’re so incompetent they’re thought of as the worst nest building species in Australia. So much so they, through abject lazy arrogance, often hijack the nests of other birds.

On the plus side, they’re well adapted to their environments. Extreme cold or heat barely affects them.

They can self-ventilate using their unusual beak and by adapting their breathing rates in real-time, so even a 30-degree day won’t cause them any bother.

Chicky Chicks

Finally, if these weird little beings weren’t most excellent enough already, the chicks resemble a sort of… blob type thing.

All very cute and everything, but the parents (who mate for life, by the way) have a mass of options available for defending themselves – and their young.

The first tactic is to “mob” the invader with beating wings and beak. If this appears to be failing, then they resort to crapping all over the intruder. As the stink is so bad, some predators with a strong reliance on sense of smell are left dumbfounded.

Well, we want a frogmouth. We already stink bad enough, so that wouldn’t be an issue for us.

But they’re not available in England. So we’re just going to have to get a pet frog. Almost as good. Ribbit (innit).

13 comments

  1. These are amazing. I’ve never seen or heard of them before. Probably won’t be long before we have them as it seems every one wants to bring their indigenous species over here. Right now the Everglades ( my back yard) is besieged with S.A. Pythons big enough to threaten and eat 13 foot alligators. I’m not surprised they are monogamous. So lazy , one is enough. Thank for the great links and a most interesting text.

    Liked by 1 person

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