Saturday, 29 September 2012

First Frogmouths have hatched

The female frogmouth comes in to the nest

The first tawny Frogmouths hatched over the 26-27th September, taking less than forty hours from the first fidgeting of the incubating adult to seeing the two chicks in the nest. All this was recorded using a remote camera, set to record on registering movement in the field of view. There is very little sound on the recording as all took place in silence: the birds did not call to one another, the chicks did not even cheep when begging for food, and the birds' flight is almost silent. This is all in defense against predators hearing them, especially powerful owls, even though there are none near the nest?. They are considerable predators in parts of the Tawny Frogmouth's range.

To see more, click on the link to a YouTube video below, it is 3m 20sec long and 7Mb.

The video opens with the male sitting on the nest, as he had done for the whole previous day. The female then comes to relieve him of his duties, but brings no food for the chicks as she would not have known there were chicks in the nest - they had hatched since her last vigil on the previous night. 

The male is recognizable as the larger bird, with a broad, well striped head, bold necklace markings and stronger markings on his wing and tail feathers. She is smaller and has less markings.

He then comes in with the first food for the newly-hatched chicks. The prey they both bring in is small, linear, legless and wingless - earthworms? The chicks were fed thirteen times during the night, seven by the male and six by the female, each taking it thier turn.

The male delicately feeds the chicks with their first meal

The camera used was a Bushnell Trophycam HD, with black flash.

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