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Podargidae

Frogmouth
Sri Lankan Frogmouths Batrachostomus moniliger ©Sudeesh Thattekkadu Website

The Podargidae or frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are found from the Indian Subcontinent across Southeast Asia to Australia and are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to capture insects. Their flight is weak.

They rest horizontally on branches during the day, camouflaged by their cryptic plumage. Up to three white eggs are laid in the fork of a branch, and are incubated by the female at night and the male in the day.

The three Podargus species are large frogmouths restricted to Australia and New Guinea, and have massive flat broad bills. They are known to take larger prey such as small vertebrates (frogs, mice, etc.), which are sometimes beaten against a stone before swallowing. The twelve Batrachostomus frogmouths are found in tropical Asia. They have smaller, more rounded bills and are predominantly insectivorous. Both Podargus and Batrachostomus have bristles around the base of the bill, and Batrachostomus has other, longer bristles which may exist to protect the eyes from insect prey. In 2007, a new species of frogmouth was described from the Solomon Islands and placed in a newly established genus, Rigidipenna.

Recent research suggests that the two frogmouth groups may not be as closely related as previously thought, and that the Asian species may be separable as a new family, the Batrachostomidae. Usually placed in the order Caprimulgiformes, another recent study has cast doubt on the frogmouths' placement within that order, and they may be distinct enough to warrant an order of their own, Podargiformes, as Gregory Mathews proposed as far back as 1918.

There are 16 species of Frogmouth currently recognised by the IOC, they are:

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus
Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti
Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus
Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus
Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger
Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni
Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus
Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus
Javan Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis
Blyth's Frogmouth Batrachostomus affinis
Palawan Frogmouth Batrachostomus chaseni
Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

Family Links

Frogmouths Podargidae

HBW Family Account

Annotated species list

Frogmouths Podargidae

Family Account

The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are found from the Indian Subcontinent across Southeast Asia to Australia.

Frogmouths Podargidae

Family Account

Frogmouths are among the most weird and wonderful birds on earth. Traditionally, they are divided into two distinctive subfamilies: Asian Frogmouths [Batrachostominae] and Australasian Frogmouths [Podarginae]. These are sometimes proposed as separate families. Both sets are strange and unworldly nightbirds.

Species Links

Blyth's Frogmouth Batrachostomus affinis

BirdLife Species Account

The Blyth's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus affinis) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests…

Blyth's Frogmouth Batrachostomus affinis

Species Account

The Blyth's frogmouth (Batrachostomus affinis) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae. It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Blyth's Frogmouth Batrachostomus affinis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

BirdLife Species Account

The Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus poliolophus mixtus) is a subspecies of bird in the Podargidae family…

Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batrachostomus mixtus Sharpe, 1892, Mount Dulit, Borneo. Formerly considered conspecific with B. poliolophus but lacks extensive white on underparts (3), male has a much darker crown (2) and female is much more contrastingly rich rufous (2). Vocalizations yet to be analysed in depth. Monotypic.

Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

Species Account

The Bornean frogmouth (Batrachostomus poliolophus mixtus) is a subspecies of bird in the Podargidae family. Many taxonomists consider it to be a subspecies of the short-tailed frogmouth.

Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

IUCN Species Status

Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

IBC Species Account

Forms a superspecies with the more widespread, lowland B. azurites…

Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batrachostomus harterti Sharpe, 1892, Mount Dulit, c. 700 m [2000 feet], north Borneo.

Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

Species Account

The Dulit frogmouth (Batrachostomus harterti) is a little-known species of bird in the Podargidae, or frogmouth, family, with a patchily recorded distribution in the mountain forests of northern and central Borneo to which it is endemic.

Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

BirdLife Species Account

Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

IBC Species Account

The Gould's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus stellatus) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss…

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

BirdLife Species Account

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

Species Account

The Gould's frogmouth (Batrachostomus stellatus) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus Stellatus Gould, 1837, Java; error = Malacca (south Peninsular Malaysia).

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

IUCN Species Status

Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

IBC Species Account

The Hodgson's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is temperate forests…

Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Otothrix hodgsoni G. R. Gray, 1859, northern India = Darjeeling, Sikkim.

Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

BirdLife Species Account

Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

Species Account

The Hodgson's frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is temperate forests.

Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus Javensis Horsfield, 1821, Java.

Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

Species Account

The Javan frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. The species is sometimes known as Horsfield's frogmouth. It is found in Java and Bali. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

BirdLife Species Account

Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

IUCN Species Status

Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Javan (Horsfield's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

Handbook of the Birds of the World

The Javan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family…

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

BirdLife Species Account

Batrachostomus auritus occurs very sparsely in south peninsular Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan (including the Natuna and Labuan islands) and Sumatra, Indonesia and Brunei….

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus Auritus J. E. Gray, 1829, no locality = Sumatra. Closely related to Bornean montane B. harterti. Monotypic.

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

Species Account

The large frogmouth (Batrachostomus auritus) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

IUCN Species Status

Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

IBC Species Account

Plumage coloration and rainforest habitat differ from those of congeners, and may suggest some distant affinity with Batrachostomus…

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus ocellatus Quoy and Gaimard, 1830, Manokwari, New Guinea.

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

Species Account

The marbled frogmouth (Podargus ocellatus) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in the Aru Islands, New Guinea and Queensland. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

IUCN Species Status

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

BirdLife Species Account

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

Species Account

Palawan Frogmouth Batrachostomus chaseni

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Palawan Frogmouth Batrachostomus chaseni

Species Account

The Palawan frogmouth (Batrachostomus chaseni) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae. It is found on Palawan in the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

Species Account

In Australia the Papuan Frogmouth is restricted to north Queensland…

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

Species Account

The Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

BirdLife Species Account

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus papuensis Quoy and Gaimard, 1830, Manokwari, New Guinea.

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

Species Account

The Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus is a nocturnal bird that is found throughout the Philippine archipelago. It is common in lowland forests…

Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Batrachostomus septimus Tweeddale, 1877, Pasananca, near Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines. Three subspecies recognized.

Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

IUCN Species Status

Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

BirdLife Species Account

Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus

BirdLife Species Account

Batrachostomus poliolophus is endemic to Sumatra, Indonesia, where it is known from a small number of records from the Barisan range, but is presumably greatly under-recorded because it is nocturnal…

Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus

Species Account

The short-tailed frogmouth (Batrachostomus poliolophus) is a species of bird in the Podargidae family. It is found in Indonesia, where it occurs in Sumatra, though it has sometimes been considered conspecific with the Bornean frogmouth. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus

IUCN Species Status

Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Short-tailed Frogmouth Batrachostomus poliolophus

IUCN Species Status

Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

Species Account

The Solomons Frogmouth (Rigidipenna inexpectata), also known as the Cinnamon Frogmouth or Solomon Islands Frogmouth, is a bird in the frogmouth family…

Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

BirdLife Species Account

Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

HBW Species Account

Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

Species Account

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth or Ceylon Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is a small frogmouth found in the Western Ghats of south India and Sri Lanka…

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

BirdLife Species Account

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

HBW Species Account

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

IBC Species Account

The Sunda Frogmouth (Batrachostomus cornutus) is a species of bird, typically placed in the family Podargidae of the order Caprimulgiformes….

Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

BirdLife Species Account

Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Podargus cornutus Temminck, 1822, Bengkulu, Sumatra.

Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

Species Account

The Sunda frogmouth (Batrachostomus cornutus) is a species of bird, typically placed in the family Podargidae of the order Caprimulgiformes. But recent research suggests that the old order Podargiformes should be re-established, wherein like its closest relatives it might be better placed in a distinct family Batrachostomidae.

Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Species Account

The frogmouths (Podargidae) comprise 12 species found in Australia, Malaya and the Philippines. They are distinguished from other families in this order by their large hooked beaks, which they use to snap up a variety of invertebrate animals from the ground. Slow in movement and poor fliers, they are adapted to a strictly nocturnal life. When roosting in daytime along a branch, their heads raised but motionless, they are extremely difficult to see…

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Species Account

The general plumage of the Tawny Frogmouth is silver-grey, slightly paler below, streaked and mottled with black and rufous. A second plumage phase also occurs, with birds being russet-red. The eye is yellow in both forms, and the wide, heavy bill is olive-grey to blackish.

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

IUCN Species Status

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Caprimulgus strigoides Latham, 1801, New Holland = Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

BirdLife Species Account

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 16

Useful Reading

Nightjars

A Guide to the Nightjars and Related Nightbirds by Nigel Cleere and Dave Nurney Pica Press 1998

ISBN: 1873403488

Buy this book from NHBS.com