Tawny Frogmouth

STATUSLeast Concern


DIETSmall birds and mammals, spiders, worms, slugs, nails, centipedes, cockroaches; occasionally frogs, and reptiles

RANGEAustralia and Tasmania

HABITATForests, scrublands, woodlands, and grasslands

Tawny Frogmouth

Physical Description

Tawny frogmouths are nocturnal or crepuscular birds with long wings, short legs, and stout bills. They average 8-21 inches tall with a 25-38 inch wingspan. They have wide, frog-like mouths and are typically gray with some black stripes.


Predators they may encounter include carpet pythons, foxes, and domestic cats and dogs.


In human care, they live an average of 10 years.


This species is monogamous and stay together for life. Breeding season runs from August-December, and pairs typically return to the same nest site each year. Females lay 1-3 eggs which will be incubated by both parents and hatch in 30 days. Parents will care for the chicks until they fledge 25-35 days after hatching.

Fun Facts

  • Tawny frogmouths are not owls even though they look very similar; they are actually part of the nightjar family.
  • When threatened, they will “stump,” which means that they will freeze their head craned upward, flatten their feathers, and reduce their eyes to slits in order to look like a broken branch.

Conservation Messaging

Tawny frogmouths face many threats from humans. Many of these birds are killed or injured each year by cars when they are chasing after insects illuminated by car headlights. They are also threatened by poisoning from insecticides and rodent poisons introduced to their environment by humans. Ecosystems have a natural balance so it’s important for us as humans to leave no trace! Once you leave nature, no one should know that you’ve been there. This means bringing out anything that you’ve brought in. Additionally, leaving the environment unaltered is equally important. To learn more about the Leave no Trace initiative and their 7 principles for minimum impact practices, visit www.lnt.org.

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