Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meet Jeff the Tawny Frogmouth

As a total diversion from Virginia wildlife I wanted to share with you photos of "Jeff the Tawny Frogmouth" from our cousins in New South Wales, Australia.
The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is an Australian species of frogmouth, a type of bird found throughout the Australian mainland, Tasmania and southern New Guinea. The Tawny Frogmouth is often mistaken to be an owl. Many Australians refer to the Tawny Frogmouth by the colloquial names of "Mopoke" or "Morepork", which usually are common alternative names for the Southern Boobook. Frogmouths are not raptorial birds.
Meet Jeff the Tawny Frogmouth mate
A True-Blue Australian

The Tawny Frogmouth was first described in 1801 by English naturalist John Latham. Its specific name is derived from the Latin stems "stix" "owl" (Latin: strix) and "-oides" "form" (Latin −oides). It belongs to the frogmouth family Podargidae, which also includes the other types of frogmouths like the Javan and Solomons Frogmouths. Tawny Frogmouths came from Aves (modern birds) then the neoaves, which has such birds like flamingos, cuckoos and the owls, that continued on to Caprimulgiformes, this is the group that includes the nightjars and oilbirds and then onto Podargidae. Podargidae have been around for about 56 million years, since the Eocene period.

Although related to owls, frogmouths are more closely related to nightjars and oilbirds.

Differences from owls
Tawny Frogmouths and owls both have anisodactyl feet - meaning that one toe is facing backwards and the other three face forwards. However, owls’ feet are much stronger than the feet of the Tawny Frogmouth as owls use their feet to catch their prey. Owls are also able to swing one of their toes around to the back (with a unique flexible joint) to get a better grip on their prey. Tawny Frogmouths have fairly weak feet as they use their beaks to catch their prey. Owls eat small mammals, like mice and rats, so their bones are shorter and stronger than those of Tawny Frogmouths which usually hunt smaller prey. Tawny Frogmouths typically wait for their prey to come to them, only rarely hunting on the wing like owls.
Our cousin Zach with Jeff
I have to admit I am partial to Aussies, fair dinkum
Quite the tuft of feathers
"Here's lookin' at you kid!"

If you are interested in wildlife, flora and fauna, learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist program here!

Get involved in something cool, our next basic training will be held at The Franklin Center in Downtown Rocky Mount beginning March 2012, feel free to email us for more details: or visit our website for the draft schedule of classes here.

*All photos by our cousin Kylie - Contact her in Australia:  mobile: 0428435278 or email Kylie at : or visit her new website:

1 comment:

  1. This bird is just too cute! Thanks for sharing


Thanks for your comment and interest! NOW GO OUTSIDE!