Saturday, 26 September 2009

Tawny Frogmouth study - 5

While the male birds sit on the nests during the day, the females roost on a nearby perch. Whenever a predator or person approaches they stretch into their cryptic pose. This bird is only half in this pose as she was familiar with me and the photograph was taken with a 400m lens from a distance far enough for her to consider me as only a possible threat.
Tawny frogmouths are so well adapted to concealment in the trees. Here, the bird sits on a dead limb, which they almost invariably do, and the dashes on the grey feathers of her belly match the pattern of the dead wood. The feathers on her back, the coverts on her wings and her scapulars all resemble the flecks of peeling bark on the trunk of the tree which she is sitting close up against. Her eyebrows droop like strips of bark and all the time she keeps her eyelids closed, yet still watching from behind them, through tiny gaps in the not quite straight fitting closure.We might not see them but they are always watching us as we pass by unaware of their presence.

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