Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tawny Frogmouths nesting

The Tawny Frogmouth nest according to Morcombe is,  a very rough, untidy, loosely constructed platform of large sticks lined with a few leaves in a fork from 2 to 15 metres up”. Morcombe describes a nest I recently photographed very well.
Tawny Frogmouth on nest. The rough collection of sticks looks at risk of falling from the fork.
The male incubates by day and the female by night, so the bird in the following photo must be a male.
Male on nest incubating eggs - is he resting on the dead branch or just in the normal "dead limb" pose parallel to the branch?
As Frogmouths are nocturnal and feed at night, presumably the male must feed the female during incubation if she is on the nest at night.
Another view of the bird on the nest.
The female was roosting in a tree close to the nest.
The female half opened her eye to see what the photographer was up to.
The male very slowly rotated his head to follow my movement as I looked for other clear views of the nest.
Frogmouth clutches range from 2 to 5 eggs. The eggs take about 30 days to hatch and the young leave the nest aged about 4 weeks, so there is some time to follow the progress of this nesting pair and hopefully get some photos of the young birds on the nest.
I photographed two young birds with parents close by at the same site in February 2015 so it is likely that the nesting pair in the above photos are the parents of last season’s birds seen in the following photo.
Two young birds roosting close together.
In this cropped photo some downy feathers are just visible confirming these are recently fledged birds.
Adult birds roost close together in the lead up to breeding, the breeding season runs from August to December.
A different male and female pair of Tawny Frogmouths roosting together on the 11th of September 2015 at another site. I think the smaller bird with some brown colour on the right is the female.
As they are not tree hollow dependent nesters, this probably helps explain why the Tawny Frogmouth is such a wide-ranging nocturnal species compared with owls that require relatively large nest hollows in old trees.

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