Tawny Frogmouth

On a warm January night, we were sitting in the lounge room watching TV when a loud bang on the screen door  startled us.  Initially, we couldn’t see anything outside, so Richard grabbed a torch and shone it into a nearby tree.   We saw a bundle of grey feathers and thought it was a solitary owl. Then, out of the darkness, another pair of wings.  As we stood there, a Tawny Frogmouth fed her chick.  Presumably she had caught a large moth or frog on the door.  We do have frogs climbing up on the door to catch insects drawn to the light and in mid-summer the moths can be a substantial size.

During the day, Tawny Frogmouths are so hard to see. The colour and texture of their feathers blends perfectly with the colour and texture of bark.  Their posture is often angular, with the head pointed in such a way that the bird is mistaken for a broken branch of the tree.  I must admit to taking many photographs of broken branches which had the potential to be a Tawny Frogmouths (which were actually broken branches) so to finally see the bird was delightful.  And what a bonus to see a chick as well.

According to Pizzey and Knight’s field guide, the female Tawny Frogmouth is browner than the male, so looking at these photographs I am guessing that the chick may be male, but in limited light, from only the front angle, it is difficult to tell.

By torch light, we spotted the first Tawny Frogmouth.
The Tawny Frogmouth chick opens its beak, asking for food.
In a flutter of wings, the chick receives food from the adult Tawny Frogmouth.

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