The Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides, is an Australian variety of frogmouth, a type of bird found throughout the Australian mainland, Tasmania and southern New Guinea. The Tawny Frogmouth is often thought to be an owl but it is actually a Nightjar. Many Australians incorrectly refer to the Tawny Frogmouth by the colloquial names of "Mopoke" or "Morepork", however, these are actually common alternate names for the Southern Boobook Owl.
Males and females look alike, and are 35–50 cm long. They have yellow eyes and a wide beak topped with a tuft of bristly feathers. They make loud clacking sounds with their beaks and emit a reverberating booming call.
Owls fly around at night hunting food, but Tawny Frogmouths generally remain sitting very still on a low perch, and wait for food to come to them. They catch prey with their beaks, and sometimes drop from their perch onto the prey on the ground.
Tawny Frogmouths hunt at night and spend the day roosting on a dead log or tree branch close to the tree trunk. Their camouflage is excellent — staying very still and upright, they look just like part of the branch.
The Tawny Frogmouth feeds on rodents, insects, frogs and other small prey. They catch their prey with their beaks rather than with their talons, another way in which they are different from owls.
Tawny Frogmouth pairs stay together until one of the pair dies. They breed from August to December. They usually use the same nest each year, and must make repairs to their loose, untidy platforms of sticks. After mating, the female lays two or three eggs onto a lining of green leaves in the nest.
Both male and female take turns sitting on the eggs to incubate them until they hatch about 30 days later. Both parents help feed the chicks.
The chicks move to the edge of the nest and direct their droppings over the edge. About 25 days after hatching, the chicks are ready to leave the nest and lead their own lives.