Frogmouth id

To: <>
Subject: Frogmouth id
From: "simon starr" <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 19:20:04 +1000
Dear all,
During a recent holiday to the far north-east of NSW, I encountered a
Frogmouth whilst spotlighting which has me in two minds. Unfortunately at
the time I wasn't sufficiently clued up on Frogmouth id , and the views were
only reasonable.(I've since looked at Hanzab and remain unsure).
I first saw it from behind as it flew to another perch. My initial reaction
was that it could have been a Boobook due to the relatively small size and
overall brownish appearance. When it finally turned sideways and I could see
its head I was surprised to see that it was a Frogmouth. I've only seen the
Tawny before and they are usually an obviously grey bird. (those that I've
seen here in Victoria at least). The first feature noted were the
orange/reddish eyes. They were as much red as orange.  This should rule out
Tawny, but Hanzab states that in a spotlight colour can appear more at the
reddish end of the scale. So if they were actually orange, that is just in
the range of some Tawnys.
I remembered to look at the supercilium. It was pale/whitish and very clear.
Again Hanzab states this feature as useful but inconclusive.
The plumes over the bill were very obvious but i didn't see any markings on
them. I then tried to pick up as much of the plumage features as i could.
Did not see the underside at all.
Overall the bird didn't appear greyish, nor rufous. The flight feathers
contrasted with the mottled/(marbled) coverts etc. They were finely and
neatly barred pale.  I did not notice the tail to be long (a good feature
apparently) and the bird did not call.  Holding the spotlight in one hand
and binoculars in the other was not ideal and the bird then flew off.
It was seen on the edge of a wet eucalpyt forest within a km or so of
rainforest vegetation at Pretty Gully due west of Bonalbo. (actually part of
the Cataract forest).
My gut feeling is that it was probably a Marbled Frogmouth, but the habitat
wasn't quite right, and with so many inconclusive features and the
variations in plumage and size described in Hanzab, it will probably remain
a mystery.
Would be interested in any feedback,
Simon Starr,


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