Tuesday, 6 December 2011


During an overnight stop at Musgrave on the main road through Cape York I watched a pair of Tawny Frogmouths hunting. They were typical in their behaviour, by looking for prey from a perch on a low branch then swooping down to catch insects on the ground. However, they were much smaller than the birds in south-east Australia where I study them, about half the body size. The female, below, identifiable by the rufous colour on her wings, was especially small.

In the nearby Lakefield national park, I found this Papuan Frogmouth. He was roosting in a shady, thickly-leaved tree, and I was surprised when he flew away as I approached. Frogmouths usually sit very still and rely on their camouflage to conceal them from potential predators. He was immediately identifiable by his massive head and bill, and thick eyebrows. A very impressive bird.

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