Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tawny Frogmouth laying egg

The female gathers her newly-laid egg
Last night the female of the Tawny Frogmouth pair which I have been recording nest-building, laid her first egg of the year.

The male who had been covering the nest all day, left at 1813 hrs and the nest was left unattended until 1918 hrs when the female arrived with a twig of nesting material. After she found a place for that in the nest, and spent about ten minutes arranging the other material, she settled down in a relaxed position. She was evidently breathing deeply as her head and shoulders were heaving up and down - something they do not usually do when on the nest. So, I assume she was preparing to lay. Then after about twenty minutes, at 1949 hrs she got up and turned around, gathered an egg under her breast and re-settled down to incubate. This she did for about four hours, when her mate arrived with a twig. She left to hunt and he continued to incubate after gently settling over the egg with his breast feathers fluffed up to expose his brood patch. He incubated the egg for an hour and a half, before she returned for a further two hour session. Then they did an hour each, until the male took over a half hour before dawn. After which he was on the nest all day while she roosted in a nearby tree.

To view a short two minute video of the sequence, click here . Although, as the camera is activated by movement, and these birds are very stealthy movers, there is a time delay and they can enter or leave the scene unnoticed. They are like ghosts in the dark.

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