Hodgson’s Frogmouth – appearance and parenting

on 28th April 2014

Samson Tan’s images of the Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) were photographed at the Doi Pak Hom Pok National Park in Thailand in 2014. He encountered six birds among which was a nesting pair LINK 1 and LINK 2. These are secretive, nocturnal birds with brownish grey plumage that provides excellent camouflage (above).

One thing that is prominent in the frogmouth is the abundance of long slender bristles and semibristles on the front of the face and around the ear coverts (above). And according to Holyoak (1999), their function “is virtually unknown, and may vary according to their position on the head. It is tempting to regard long rictal bristles as helping to direct prey into the mouth and perhaps serving a tactile function, whereas auricular plumes may assist in shedding rain water.”

The diet of this frogmouth consists of moths, beetles and other large insects. It sallies from a prominent perch to catch these moving prey. The presence of small insects hovering around the head in the previous image may be too small for the frogmouth eat. However, the insect near the left eye (above) may be taking too much of a risk.

It is noted that incubation and brooding duties are undertaken by the male during the daylight hours (above) and by the female during the night (below). Interestingly this is also seen in the Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) LINK.

Samson Tan
April 2014

Holyoak, D.T. (1999). Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2013). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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