Question on Tawny Frogmouths

To: 'Neal Hardy' <>, 'Stuart Rae' <>
Subject: Question on Tawny Frogmouths
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2023 22:21:25 +0000

Neil and Stuart

Interesting stuff. We had a family here in Watson in the yard yesterday. 2 adults and a young bird. The young one was also fairly restless. One of them was making very soft churring sort of calls often throughout the day and on one occasion heard a call like a soft motorbike running (4 call on Morcombe ap). We heard an adult calling early this morning again, but they are not in the yard today.





Kathy and John


From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of Neal Hardy
Sent: Sunday, 15 January 2023 9:19 PM
To: 'Stuart Rae' <>
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Question on Tawny Frogmouths


Thank you Stuart.


The family is roosting in a small pocket park, where there are large trees surrounding a central grassed area.


It is perhaps the fourth year we have had Frogmouths in the park, and I think the second successful raising of young.


Young was vocalising occasionally before today, but certainly more today. Quite a soft coughing sound, but persistent. It is quite restless, and moves often. Mostly to its mother, but at the moment, all three are staying pretty close.




From: Stuart Rae
Sent: Sunday, 15 January 2023 8:04 PM
To: Neal Hardy <>
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Question on Tawny Frogmouths


Hi Neal,


Young frogmouths mostly call when begging for food. This is a hoarse coughing sound and it can be persistent. So if that is what you are hearing that will be the reason. Other calls are soft, contact type, or anxious alarm calls. However, young frogmouths rarely call, and I have never heard them beg for food during the day.


If the chick hatched in early December, it would have left the nest in early January. They are in the nest for approximately a month. They then stay with their parents for at least another month, by when they reach full size and full feathering. Some families are beginning to split up now, and most will do so before the end of summer.


The adults might be having difficulty finding enough food this year because there is so much tall grass and weeds covering the ground. They cannot land on ground covered with such vegetation to catch food. Most of their food is collected from open ground covered with leaf and bark litter. 


Without further information on the individual case, I cannot add much more, but I trust this helps with your query.




On Sun, 15 Jan 2023 at 14:28, Neal Hardy <> wrote:



Could I ask if anyone knows why young Tawny Frogmouths vocalise during the day?


We have a surviving young bird with its parents, and the young one is markedly restless, and increasingly vocal. It probably hatched early December, and had its first flight I think on 18 December.



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Stuart Rae





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