Tawny Frogmouth

posted in: Feathers-maintenance, Species | 4

Adrian Lim’s a.k.a wmw998 image of the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) was taken in Australia. After all, the bird is endemic to that continent.

The frogmouth’s distinctive feature is its wide, strong bill, thus its common name, frogmouth. The bird takes large insects, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, spiders, crustaceans, frogs, lizards, rodents, birds and small mammals. It has been known that some frogmouth crush their prey or bash them up against the perch until the bones are crushed before swallowing them.

The prominent feature, besides the mouth, are the well developed facial bristles. However, these are less prominent in the Tawny Frogmouth then in other species. The function of these bristles is not known. The longer bristles in other species may assist in directing prey into the mouth. Or they may have a tactile function.

Image by Adrian Lim.

This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

4 Responses

  1. Haniman Boniran

    Most carnivorous species of birds like frogmouth,kookaburrah, kingfisher, etc tend to strike their prey on a perch before consuming. This act is simply to stun the prey and kill it for easy consumption. Trying to swallow a fiesty, wriggling prey properly is quite a challenge. The idea of crushing the prey’s bone is, in my opinion, a misconception. Similar to how people think pythons crush your bones when it coils around you. When in fact, they kill by constriction, suffocating the prey with each squeeze. Bones are pretty tough. They do not break that easily.Not at one blow atleast.

    Tectile function of the rictal bristles seem logical. In poor lighting conditions, even night vision can be compromised. Nocturnal species require a primary light source before they can actually reflect it clearly in the dark. These rictal bristles act very much like sensory organs while searching for your kill in the dark.

    Diurnal species like the twelve-wired bird of paradise uses the ‘wires’ on its tail to entice the female. He does it by touching her with his tail bristles after he is done with the dance and call display. Unlike most female of other BOP species, the twelve-wired females prefer tactile stimulation to visual ones.

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