Monday, 14 April 2014

Nocturnal garden visitor

We had a tawny frogmouth visit our garden the other night. Tawny Frogmouths are found throughout Australia, with the exception of desert and rainforest areas. They are often mistaken for owls but they are more closely related to nightjars. We think they are beautiful birds and couldn't resist taking a photo.  It's not the greatest of photos, but hey, it was taken in the dark!

There are a few of these birds in our neighbourhood and from time to time we are lucky enough to see them in our own garden. Often seen in pairs, the pair stays together until one of the birds dies.

Tawny Frogmouths hunt at night and spend the day well camouflaged, roosting on a dead log or tree branch close to the tree trunk. They are extremely hard to see during the day. A few years ago there was one roosting during the day in a silver birch in the front garden of a house a few doors down the street. Very hard to distinguish the bird against the tree's branches and foliage. Unlike owls, the Tawny Frogmouth is almost exclusively insectivorous. They sit motionless on a perch waiting for food to come to them, catching it in their beak. When they visit us they seem to like to perch on the clothesline, as in the picture above. 

For those of you who have never seen one, here is a nice clear picture:

And now for the aw-that's-cute shot:

Mother nestling behind her 2 youngsters

We're lucky here in Australia - we have an amazing amount of unique birdlife. Although sometimes being so lucky can have a downside - like when the native rainbow lorikeets descend and proceed to strip the leaves off our fruit trees  :)

Images: 2 | 3 | 4

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