Asian frogmouths (Batrachostomidae)

compiled by Dr. Susan Sharma

A close relative of the nightjars, frogmouths are birds that share with them a wide, horny, flat, sharply hooked, boat-shaped bill, but unlike them, do not use it to capture insects on the wing. Asian frogmouth is the common name for small, owllike birds of the family Podargidae, ranging in size from 9 to 21 in. They feed on crawling animals, such as caterpillars, beetles, scorpions, and centipedes. They fly swiftly, but only over short distances, and the reduced tail feathers limit maneuverability. Nine species in the genus Batrachostomus are found from India to Malaysia. The remaining three species, in the genus Podargus, are found throughout Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. All are nocturnal forest dwellers. Podargus species build flat, twig platform nests, while species of Batrachostomus make cushions of their own feathers and camouflage them with moss and spiderwebs. Frogmouths lay one or two whitish eggs, which the males incubate by day and the females at night.

National parks ans sanctuaries in the Western Ghats in India are the places to look out for the Sri Lanka Frogmouth. A bird sanctuary wherein documented work exists on the frogmouth is the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This is located two hour’s drive from the port city of Kochi, near Kothamanagalam in Ernakulam district, on the northern bank of the Periyar river.

This elusive bird has attracted the attention of film makers too.

"In Quest of the Frogmouth’s nest" - It is Suresh Elamon’s intense affection for nature that made him shoot In Quest of the Frogmouth’s Nest, named after Batrachostomus moniliger, the most elusive bird of the South-Indian tropical forest. The quest for nature, an unending knowledge for beauty, splendour and solitude illuminate his view.
production :

Suresh Elamon
Birdwing Films Cit Road
Killipalam Trivandrum 695002
India tél.: +91 471 234 35 05

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