Frogmouth

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Frogmouths
Tawny Frogmouth, at night
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
(unranked): Cypselomorphae
Order: see text
Family: Podargidae
Genera

Podargus
Batrachostomus
Rigidipenna

The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are found from the Indian Subcontinent across Southeast Asia to Australia.

They are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to capture insects. Their flight is weak.

They rest horizontally on branches during the day, camouflaged by their cryptic plumage. Up to three white eggs are laid in the fork of a branch, and are incubated by the female at night and the male in the day.

The three Podargus species are large frogmouths restricted to Australia and New Guinea, and have massive flat broad bills. They are known to take larger prey such as small vertebrates (frogs, mice, etc.), which are sometimes beaten against a stone before swallowing.[1] The twelve Batrachostomus frogmouths are found in tropical Asia. They have smaller, more rounded bills and are predominantly insectivorous. Both Podargus and Batrachostomus have bristles around the base of the bill, and Batrachostomus has other, longer bristles which may exist to protect the eyes from insect prey.[1] In April 2007, a new species of frogmouth was described from the Solomon Islands and placed in a newly established genus, Rigidipenna.[2]

Recent research suggests that the two frogmouth groups may not be as closely related as previously thought, and that the Asian species may be separable as a new family, the Batrachostomidae[citation needed]. Usually placed in the order Caprimulgiformes, another recent study has cast doubt on the frogmouths' placement within that order,[3] and they may be distinct enough to warrant an order of their own, Podargiformes, as Gregory Mathews proposed in 1918.[citation needed]

A pair of Tawny Frogmouths resting in a tree fork during the day

Genus Podargus

Genus Batrachostomus

Genus Rigidipenna

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Perrins, Christopher (2003). Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. p. 342. ISBN 1-55297-777-3. 
  2. ^ Cleere et al. 2007. A new genus of frogmouth (Podargidae) from the Solomon Islands – results from a taxonomic review of Podargus ocellatus inexpectatus Hartert 1901. Ibis 149: 271–286.
  3. ^ Mayr, G. (2002): Osteological evidence for paraphyly of the avian order Caprimulgiformes (nightjars and allies). Journal für Ornithologie 143(1): 82–97. doi:10.1046/j.1439-0361.2002.01030.x HTML abstract.

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