Birds: Papuan Frogmouth
The Papuan Frogmouth is supposed to be a nocturnal feeder, according to the hired guides we met at the Port Douglas Nature Park in Northeastern Australia. On our first morning in town our Innkeepers, Penny & Jim Ewan at the Lazy Lizard Best Western Motor Lodge, showed us one Frogmouth “sleeping” in a tree behind our guest quarters. Frogmouths not only feed at night, time but they also love worms…and frogs, I suppose. We went for an evening visit at the local The Nature Park and the crew let us feed the wounded Frogmouths they had in captivity. That night we also helped track a python that was slithering in the canopy of trees overhead.
I visited the roosting Frogmouth behind our Lazy Lizard room a few times that morning, swapping out my pair of binoculars for a camera. I thought the closed-eyed bird was snoozing, so I watched and waited. All of a sudden the bird opened his eyes. He stared straight at me, with those piercing orange eyes and dark black pupils. I shuttered with the cold chill of truth. He looked right through me. He opened his eyes just once, and it was exhilarating! I snapped the one picture above and waited. He then closed his eyes again. In the nick of time I had zoomed in and snapped a picture for the true affect.
Camouflaged Papuan Frogmouth
Frogmouths are related to a species known as nightjars, which fly and roost in trees from the Indian Subcontinent to Southeast Asia and Australia. They seem to be named after their beaks, which are large and flat, with a hook in the middle.
According to tales, they have a “frog-like gape,” which doesn’t sound quiet right to me. The Papuan Frogmouth I saw had a massive flat bill, which was broad and wide, but it did not look frog-like. Their mouths are large enough to accommodate a small rodent, or reptilian invertebrate I suppose, so the name frogmouth is not too far off the mark.