Monday, March 14, 2011

Tawny Frogmouth

I came to Australia for the first time in 2006, with Christine. Walking through the suburbs of Sydney one night on that trip I heard this "ooo ooo ooo" sound:

Too dark to see, I flipped open the flash, pointed the camera at the sound, and snapped. And got what has to be the luckiest shot of my life:

It was a Tawny Frogmouth, probably about 16 inches from tip of the tail to head. They're owl-like—but they are not owls, nor are they closely related to them.

Here's a closer look:

More here. And more images of the messy-faced Frogmouth here.

• Fromouths are classified as belonging to the order Caprimulgiformes. The name means "goat-sucker," because of the mistaken belief long ago that another bird in the order, the nightjar, sucked milk from female goats.


  1. Very cool Thom! I had read about those birds but never hoped to see one or be one degree of separation from someone who had.

    Interesting note: "nightjars" are mentioned in the Elton John song "Come Down In Time".

    In the quiet silent seconds I
    Turned off the light switch and I
    Came down to meet you
    In the
    Half light the moon left
    While a
    Cluster of Nightjars ( or it could be nightjar, I could never tell...)
    Sang some
    Songs out of tune
    A mantle of bright light
    Down from a room...
    Come down in time
    I still hear her say
    So clear in my ear
    Like it was today
    Come down in time
    Was the message she gave
    Come down in time
    And I'll
    Meet you half way...