Tawny Frogmouths would be one of the most difficult birds to spot in the bush. They are amazingly well camouflaged and tend to sit in the one spot all day. They also tend to remain incredibly still, so there is much movement to be detected.
Sometimes you get lucky. With the nesting pair featured in this post, my wife saw them fly in to the camp early in the morning. Once spotted, we were able to keep an eye on them for the duration of our camping trip and take lots of photos.
The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a species of frogmouth native to and found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It is a big-headed, stocky bird, often mistaken for an owl due to its nocturnal habits and similar colouring, and is sometimes, at least archaically, referred to as mopoke or mopawk, also used for the Australian boobook, whose call is often confused with the tawny frogmouth’s. In 2019, Australian readers of The Guardian online voted it as the second most popular bird in the Australian Bird of the Year poll.
Bonding and breeding
Tawny frogmouths form partnerships for life, and once established, pairs usually stay in the same territory for a decade or more. Establishing and maintaining physical contact is an integral part of their lifelong bond. During breeding season, pairs roost closely together on the same branch, often with their bodies touching. The male carries out grooming by gently stroking through the plumage of the female with his beak in sessions that can last for 10 minutes or more.