10th of October 2014 Species Spotlight – Tawny Frogmouth

This week we look at one of the more unusual looking members of the park

Tawny Frogmouth

Podargus strigoides

Tawny Frogmouth (23)

Tawny Frogmouths are found throughout Australia, including Tasmania.  They are closely related to the Nightjar, found here in the UK.  There are 3 species of Frogmouth and the Tawny is Near Threatened with risks including predators (natural and introduced), pesticides and car strikes

Frognouths are often mistaken for owls as they are similar in appearance but also because they are nocturnal.  The big difference is that whereas owls use their powerful feet to catch and kill their prey, frogmouths will use their beaks.  They tend to take insects but mammals, birds, frogs and lizards are also fair game.

During the day Frogmouths will sit still, using their feathers to blend into their surronds.  They add to this by strking poses designed to mimic broken branches

Tawny Frogmouth (19)

The sexes generally look the same although their are different colour morphs in both sexes.  Pairs bond for life and will stay in the same territory. Males preen the females to reinforce the bond and both birds will build the nest.  Nests are flimsy twig constructions and one to three eggs are produced. The male incubates during the day with both birds incubating at night, the partner providing food for the bird on the nest.  Both adults feed the young who fledge at 25-35 days

 

We house a pair of Tawnys in the Finch block.  They had eggs this year but threw them from the nest (they are known for being poor/clumsy sitters)  The female has bred successfully for us in the past but this is a newish male.  The chick from a couple of years ago is still with us and is part of the Meet the Keeper team

 

 

In other news

The King Penguin chick has now surpassed the 2 kilo mark, so is ten times heavier than it was 35 days ago! It is now taking small sprats whole and may well start to spend an hour or two outside in the next few weeks, weather permitting

6 new Humboldt Penguins joined us yesterday from Woburn Safari Park.  The 5 females and 1 male will serve a fortnights quarantine before joining the existing group

IMG_8116 IMG_8118

The Bartletts Doves broke their egg

The White Bellied Go Away Bird has been moved into one of the trout pond aviaries, allowing us to put a Western Grey Plantain Eater in the round aviary by the penguin pool

The Pelicans and Marabou have been clipped this week with the high winds leading us to also start shutting them in at night

 

With the colder weather a couple of dead hornets have been found and there are no Swallows to be seen

 

Thanks as always

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