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Birds and Birdwatching in Melbourne - Tawny Frogmouth

Home > Melbourne > Fun Things To Do | Animals and Wildlife
by Debbie Lustig (subscribe)
My work has been published in The Age, The Herald-Sun, The Australian, The Big Issue, Australian Birdlife, The Bark (USA), Eureka Street, Overland and The Australian Jewish News.
Published January 16th 2012
The Tawny Frogmouth is one of Melbourne's most common birds but it's one of the hardest to find. That's because it spends its days pretending not to be a bird, sitting on exposed branches, posing as a stub in a defence against predators. With a bit of persistance, you can find one in your local park or garden and will be able to watch the changes as time goes by.

They usually sit still but if you disturb one, the bird will stare at you with its big, yellow eyes.
Two tawnies - one imitating a branch

Although nocturnal like owls, Tawny Frogmouths differ in the way they catch their prey. While owls use their powerful talons and claws, frogmouths eat up their prey insects, worms, snails, small animals, reptiles, frogs and even birds by catching them in their big, wide beaks.

Frogmouths have beautiful, subtle grey plumage with dark streaks. The best way to find one is to look at the ground below a big tree. If there's plenty of splashy 'whitewash' bird poo chances are there's a frogmouth above.
Tawny Frogmouth on nest

Frogmouths inhabit many Melbourne suburban parks and plenty of gardens, too, and are quite large with an average size of 44 cm. They're great birds to seek out in the evening, when they silently fly back and forth to their nests. In spring and summer, you might even see one or two fluffy, white chicks. They learn to stare early on.
Tawny Frogmouth chick

Click here to see a Google map detailing the various sightings of Tawny Frogmouths around Melbourne.
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Why? Because this birds lives right among us and few of us notice!
When: Daytime to watch them perch; nights to see them fly
Where: Many parks and gardens around Melbourne
Cost: Free
Your Comment
For the past week three Tawny Owls have been guest in the tree outside kitchen window, two are usually close together the other a few branches away....based on size maybe one male two females, not sure...they sit in the tree all day without too much movement can only assume they go out at night.....have taken some picture if interested.....HM
by hmul (score: 0|4) 3222 days ago
Another photo
by hmul (score: 0|4) 3222 days ago
I have had many sightings of Tawny Frogmouths in Gilpin and Clifton parks Brunswick while walking at about 4.30am. Got a few photos of them sitting on fence posts last October. More recently only seen in flight over/between treetops.
One night in early February 2021, I counted 10 flying overhead.
Peter H. Brunswick, Vic.
by pensi (score: 0|2) 640 days ago
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