Eats insects, other arthropods, mollusks, and small vertebrates, which it catches with its wide beak.
The tawny frogmouth is unique to Australia, related to the nightjars found in Israel. Despite its name, it has no connection to owls, as it is a separate species. Unlike owls, this species grabs its prey with its mouth and not with claws. Its legs are relatively weak. The tawny frogmouth sits in hiding on a low horizontal tree branch awaiting an insect to pass underneath it. When it sees it, it slips down quietly and grabs its prey with its wide mouth, which resembles that of a frog.
Throughout the day, the tawny frogmouth hides itself with its colors and its tendency to remain still alongside tree trunks. Its feathers serve as excellent camouflage – often it’s difficult to discern the feathers from the colors of the branches and dry leaves.
This species in monogamous. A couple breeds in December, and the female lays one to three eggs, each one to three days apart. The nest is built of sticks, and the couple incubates the eggs together. The eggs take roughly one month until they hatch. The chicks leave the nest after one month.
The tawny frogmouth uses the most expansive range of sounds for communication between partners and neighbors.
At the zoo, you can see the tawny frogmouth at the bats exhibit in the Australian Yard, but you must look carefully to spot them!
Photo: Yael Shavit