Rufous morph of Tawny Frogmouth

October 18, 2011

Unusual rufous morph of the Tawny Frogmouth was found roosting on the ground and quickly seen by the Lodges guests despite the rain.


The scalding sound of a few Pale-yellow Robin alerted us to investigate what was upsetting them. We eventually found a Tawny Frogmouth roosting on the ground in a clump of ginger plants. However this was no ordinary Tawny Frogmouth but a rufous morph of the race Podargus strigoides phalaenoides, which occurs in tropical Australia including the “Wet Tropics” of far north Queensland, and has only been recorded in female birds so far.

This is only the third time we have seen a rufous or dark plumaged morph in the Lodges rainforest area, the more common grey birds are usually found in drier woodland areas. This frogmouths plumage was very similar in colour to the Nankeen Kestrel plumage. Despite the rain our guests raced out to see this unusual visitor who eventually moved from the ground to a more comfortable perch on a branch but still being harassed by the Pale-yellow Robin and a few more species who had joined in.


Land Birds 1 species
Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) 1 race phalaenoides



Simon Mustoe on October 20, 2011 about Rufous morph of Tawny Frogmouth

What a beautiful looking bird. Rare but also in the same week that Greg Roberts found one ... also roosting on the ground.

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