TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides)

I’ve only seen a Frogmouth in the wild once.

When I saw this couple for the first time, I looked for them continually in the 20 months I lived in the inner north-east suburb of Abbotsford from 2015-2016.

Eventually, after the local Council? or Environment Agency?, who looked after the river and nature reserve on the other side of the river, went through clearing winter debris and rubbish from the river banks and water, I never saw them again.

I was surprised to read Frogmouths are not Owls and being rather ignorant of most Australian birds before I took up photography, was rather thrilled to see them high up on the cliff face below my apartment area.

HERE, THE ORIGINAL IMAGE HAS BEEN LIGHTENED CONSIDERABLY. I ALSO GAVE THE IMAGE A SMALL CROP ON ALL SIDES TO MAKE THE BIRDS APPEAR A LITTLE LARGER WITHIN THE FRAME.

I spent some time in the following days (after discovery), trying to photograph them and this image is about the best out of the series I took.  I was looking up at about a 90 degree angle and had the lens virtually resting on top of my glasses.  Certainly not the best bird image I’ve ever shot, but who’s complaining when you live in an urban area, (or inner suburb of a capital city) and bird life can be scarce in some locations, or seasons of the year.

This species of Australian Frogmouth is a large, strangely big-headed, well-camouflaged, nightjar-like bird with a tuft of bristles on its forehead.  I’ve lightened the image considerably in post processing, as the birds were in deep shade in the thick of the tree’s foliage.

The Frogmouth’s large beak opens to an enormous gape. and it usually perches upright and motionless like a broken branch, so can be hard to spot during the daytime.  The bird has a strange, rather persist ‘oom-oom-oom….’ sound and is active at dusk and after.

This is #45 from my archives of the 100+ bird species I have photographed over the last 8 years or so.  I think I have shared most of the better/best images, but I’ll continue to post some of the other 60 or so species photographed if I can find some decent shots.

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19 thoughts on “TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides)

    1. They have such big heads that I couldn’t quite believe what i was seeing at first. I only wish i had some better images. There are owls in my current home location but I have yet to see one.

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  1. Wow! So beautiful. I can relate to the crick in your crick in the neck from photographing these stunners. We have Oz and Melbourne on the calendar for 2020, but I don’t want to talk about it as it may jinx it, which happened on our second planned trip. Australia to me is bird paradise.

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    1. My neck couldn’t take that bend nowadays, but I well remember how hard they were to photograph. I’d love to see some more one day.

      Good to hear you’re going to visit Melbourne in 2020. I hope the new underground train line is finished as the inconvenience of public transport and road changes can be a bit annoying depending on where you want to go and what you want to see in the city and it’s immediate surrounds.

      As a bird lover, I believe the 200+ bird species in the nature reserves on King Island (between the island state of Tasmania and my state of Victoria) might be worth a side visit for you. So much to see and do, I daresay you’ll have to do some research and select just a few places.

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  2. They do look rather owl-like. I suspect that’s what I would have assumed them to be if I’d come across them. I spent some time trying to figure out what they remind me of, and finally decided it was a kind of sheared stuffed toy we had as kids. I was intrigued enough to do a little looking, and found this entirely enchanting video of one raised at the St. Louis zoo.

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    1. Thanks for the link to that video, Linda. It was utterly charming. There is supposed to be a Tawny Owl on the other side of this building that sits on the tenant’s balcony early in the morning. I miss all the birds like that from the nature reserve as I live on the road side of the building.

      Still I’m sure I’ll spot it some time or other in the future.

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    1. I always get a thrill when I see a new bird I haven’t seen before (or since). Interesting how one’s life changes when you stop working and your day becomes much much slower and more simple and you notice more of the small details in your home surroundings.

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    1. Thank you, Tanja.
      (I can no longer see if the focus is sharp these days. Gosh I miss my old contact lenses pre 2010. Thick glasses are just not the same for my vision. I wore bi-focal contact lenses towards the end of my 40 years of wearing them and my vision was far better).

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    2. Unfortunately not, Tanja. I now have a dry-eye condition. The Ophthalmologist recommended wearing glasses again and using eye drops daily. Secondly, they can no longer make contact lenses of sufficient strength for my degree of myopia and astigmatism.

      Then there are the chronic headaches……

      Doesn’t stop me taking photos, though 😀

      I’ve always had to use AF. Never been able to use MF.

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