The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are found from the Indian Subcontinent across Southeast Asia to Australia.

Tawny frogmouth wholebody444
Tawny frogmouth, at night
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Caprimulgiformes
Family: Podargidae
Gray, 1847


They are named for their large flattened hooked bill and huge frog-like gape, which they use to capture insects. Their flight is weak. They rest horizontally on branches during the day, camouflaged by their cryptic plumage. Up to three white eggs are laid in the fork of a branch, and are incubated by the female at night and the male in the day. The three Podargus species are large frogmouths restricted to Australia and New Guinea, that have massive flat broad bills. They are known to take larger prey such as small vertebrates (frogs, mice, etc.), which are sometimes beaten against a stone before swallowing.[1] The ten Batrachostomus frogmouths are found in tropical Asia. They have smaller, more rounded bills and are predominantly insectivorous. Both Podargus and Batrachostomus have bristles around the base of the bill, and Batrachostomus has other, longer bristles which may exist to protect the eyes from insect prey.[1] In April 2007, a new species of frogmouth was described from the Solomon Islands and placed in a newly established genus, Rigidipenna.[2]


DNA-DNA hybridisation studies have suggested that the two frogmouth groups may not be as closely related as previously thought, and that the Asian species may be separable as a new family, the Batrachostomidae.[3] Although frogmouths are traditionally included in the order Caprimulgiformes, another study has cast doubt on their placement within that order,[4] and they may be distinct enough to warrant an order of their own, Podargiformes, as Gregory Mathews proposed in 1918.


Pair of tawny frogmouths
A pair of tawny frogmouths resting in a tree fork during the day
  • Genus Podargus
  • Genus Batrachostomus
  • Genus Rigidipenna


  1. ^ a b Perrins, Christopher (2003). Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. p. 342. ISBN 1-55297-777-3.
  2. ^ Cleere; et al. (2007). "A new genus of frogmouth (Podargidae) from the Solomon Islands – results from a taxonomic review of Podargus ocellatus inexpectatus Hartert 1901". Ibis. 149: 271–286. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919x.2006.00626.x.
  3. ^ Sibley, Charles G.; Alquist, John E.; Monroe, Jr., Burt L. (July 1988). "A Classification of the Living Birds of the World Based on Dna-Dna Hybridization Studies" (PDF). The Auk. 105 (3): 409–423. JSTOR 4087435.
  4. ^ Mayr, G (2002). "Osteological evidence for paraphyly of the avian order Caprimulgiformes (nightjars and allies)" (PDF). Journal für Ornithologie. 143 (1): 82–97. doi:10.1007/bf02465461. ISSN 0021-8375.

External links


Batrachostomus is a genus of frogmouths. The generic name is a direct translation from the Greek

for "frogmouth"; batracho-/βατραχο- "frog" and stoma-/στομα "mouth".

Blyth's frogmouth

Blyth's frogmouth (Batrachostomus affinis) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.

It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the Javan and Palawan frogmouth.

Bornean frogmouth

The Bornean frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus) is species of bird in the Podargidae family. Some taxonomists consider it to be a subspecies of the short-tailed frogmouth, but others consider it to be a distinct species. It is found in Indonesia and Malaysia and is endemic to the island of Borneo. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

The species was discovered by Charles Hose on Mount Dulit in Sarawak, Borneo, and described by Richard Bowdler Sharpe in 1892 for the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club.

Chaca (genus)

Chaca is the only genus in the catfish family Chacidae. These fish are commonly known as squarehead catfishes, frogmouth catfishes, or angler catfishes. These unusual fish have a sedentary lifestyle and spend much of their time motionless.

The name Chaca is because, when removed from the water, they will rapidly repeat the sound "chaca". Only C. chaca makes these sounds; the other species do not.

David Steadman

David William Steadman is a paleontologist and ornithologist, and serves as the curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.His research has concentrated on the evolution, biogeography, conservation, and extinction of tropical birds, particularly in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. He has also authored over 180 scientific publications. He has conducted a number of digs at prehistoric sites and uncovered widescale extinctions caused by humans in the early stages of colonisation. He has conducted several expeditions to the Galápagos Islands, and has described a number of extinct species of birds and more recently was involved in discovering that the Solomon Islands frogmouth is a species (instead of a subspecies of the marbled frogmouth, as formerly believed). He worked extensively on Easter Island, carrying out the first systematic excavations of the island in order to identify the plants and animals that once lived there.

Dulit frogmouth

The Dulit frogmouth (Batrachostomus harterti) is a little-known species of bird in the frogmouth family, Podargidae, with a patchily recorded distribution in the mountain forests of northern and central Borneo to which it is endemic. The species is monotypic.

Gould's frogmouth

The Gould's frogmouth (Batrachostomus stellatus) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.

It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

The common name commemorates the English ornithologist and bird artist John Gould (1804-1881).

Hodgson's frogmouth

Hodgson's frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is temperate forests.

The common name commemorates the British naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson.This bird is part of the same order as nightjars are. Both birds are nocturnal and they share similar rictal bristles on the bill which they use to know when to close their bill shut on insects as they hawk. This feature is just a hypothesis by scientists who do not completely understand the true use of those bristles yet. the frogmouth differs from its cousin by heavier bills, shorter and more rounded wings and upright posture when perched.

Javan frogmouth

The Javan frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis), sometimes known as Horsfield's frogmouth, is a species of bird in the family Podargidae. It is sometimes considered conspecific with the Blyth's and Palawan frogmouths. Found in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines, it lives in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest.

Large frogmouth

The large frogmouth (Batrachostomus auritus) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. Logging of its habitat poses a risk to its survival, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as being "near-threatened".

Marbled frogmouth

The marbled frogmouth (Podargus ocellatus) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.

It is found in the Aru Islands, New Guinea and Queensland.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

There are five subspecies recognised; the nominate ocellatus is found in New Guinea and surrounding islands. Two subspecies are found on islands of Papua New Guinea; intermedius is found on Trobriand Islands and D'Entrecasteaux Islands, meeki is endemic to Tagula Island. Australia has two subspecies; marmoratus is found on Cape York Peninsula, plumiferus (known locally as the 'plumed frogmouth') is found in SE Queensland.The Conondale ranges in Queenslands Sunshine Coast is considered a stronghold for the plumed frogmouth; notable populations are within the Conondale National Park. The species is rare and is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and occurs in subtropical rainforest and vineforest at altitudes from 50–800 m. The species roosts in the canopy of and is considered cryptic and extremely hard to find or study. Current populations are threatened by land clearing, inappropriate fire regimes and timber harvesting with future impacts of climate change posing additional risks. There have been estimates of the current pairs in the Conondale ranges being around 800 pairs with the current range of the species is just under 2000 ha with some potential future habitat increase in population being created by regenerating rainforest previously logged. Its specialised habitat requirements being un-logged pristine forests, the species is considered extremely vulnerable due to significant habitat reduction. Future harvesting of native timber in the Conondale region also poses risk.Rigidipenna inexpectatus, endemic to four islands in the Solomon Islands, was formerly considered a subspecies. It was split into its own genus, Rigidipenna, in 2007.


Owlet-nightjars are small crepuscular birds related to the nightjars and frogmouths. Most are native to New Guinea, but some species extend to Australia, the Moluccas, and New Caledonia. A flightless species from New Zealand is extinct. There is a single monotypic family Aegothelidae with the genus Aegotheles.

Owlet-nightjars are insectivores which hunt mostly in the air but sometimes on the ground; their soft plumage is a cryptic mixture of browns and paler shades, they have fairly small, weak feet (but larger and stronger than those of a frogmouth or a nightjar), a tiny bill that opens extraordinarily wide, surrounded by prominent whiskers. The wings are short, with 10 primaries and about 11 secondaries; the tail long and rounded.

Papuan frogmouth

The Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.

Philippine frogmouth

The Philippine frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus) is a nocturnal bird that is found throughout the Philippine archipelago. It is common in lowland forests and maturing second growth. Little information is known about the bird. It feeds on grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets and beetles.

Short-tailed frogmouth

The short-tailed frogmouth, also known as the Sumatran frogmouth (Batrachostomus poliolophus) is a bird in the family Podargidae. It is endemic to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It was formerly considered conspecific with the Bornean frogmouth.

Solomons frogmouth

The Solomons frogmouth (Rigidipenna inexpectata), also known as the cinnamon frogmouth or Solomon Islands frogmouth, is a bird in the frogmouth family. It was first described in 1901, but not recognized as highly distinct until 2007. It is the only known member of the genus Rigidipenna. It is endemic to the islands of Isabel, Bougainville and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

Sri Lanka frogmouth

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Sri Lankan frogmouth or Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is a small frogmouth found in the Western Ghats of south India and Sri Lanka. Related to the nightjars, it is nocturnal and is found in forest habitats. The plumage coloration resembles that of dried leaves and the bird roosts quietly on branches, making it difficult to see. Each has a favourite roost that it uses regularly unless disturbed. It has a distinctive call that is usually heard at dawn and dusk. The sexes differ slightly in plumage.

Sunda frogmouth

The Sunda frogmouth (Batrachostomus cornutus) is a species of bird, typically placed in the family Podargidae of the order Caprimulgiformes. Recent research suggests, however, that the old order Podargiformes should be re-established, wherein the Asian frogmouths would be placed in their own family, Batrachostomidae.

It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where it occurs on Borneo and Sumatra. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical mangrove forest, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Tawny frogmouth

The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a species of frogmouth native to and found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It is a big-headed, stocky bird, often mistaken for an owl due to its nocturnal habits and similar colouring, and is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "mopoke", a common name for the Australian boobook, whose call is often confused with the tawny frogmouth's.

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