Birds: Papuan Frogmouth
The Papuan Frogmouth is supposed to be a nocturnal feeder, according to the guides we met at the Port Douglas Nature Park in Northeastern Australia. 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 on our first morning in town. Frogmouths not only feed at night, but they also love worms…and frogs, I suppose. The Nature Park crew let us feed the Frogmouths they had in captivity and we helped track a python climbing in the trees overhead.
I visited the roosting Frogmouth behind us a few times that morning, swapping out some binoculars for a camera. I thought the closed-eyed bird was snoozing, when all of a sudden he opened his eyes. He stared straight at me, with those piercing orange eyes and dark black pupil. I shuttered with chills. He looked right through me. He opened his eyes just that once, and it was great! I snapped this one picture in the nick of time and zoomed in for the true affect.
Camouflaged Papuan Frogmouth
Frogmouths are related to nightjars, which fly and roost 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 one I saw had a massive flat bill, which was broad and wide, but it did not look frog-like. Their mouth is large enough to accommodate a small rodent, or reptilian invertebrate I suppose, so the name is not too far off the mark.