Podargidae – Frogmouths

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

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
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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.
  • 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

    IUCN Species Status
  • Bornean Frogmouth Batrachostomus mixtus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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.
  • 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

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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

    IBC Species Account
    Forms a superspecies with the more widespread, lowland B. azurites…
  • Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • 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

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hodgson's Frogmouth Batrachostomus hodgsoni

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Otothrix hodgsoni G. R. Gray, 1859, northern India = Darjeeling, Sikkim.
  • 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

    BirdLife Species Account
  • 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…
  • Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Podargus Javensis Horsfield, 1821, Java.
  • Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

    IUCN Species Status
  • Javan (Horsfields's) Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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.
  • Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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

    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

    IUCN Species Status
  • 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….
  • 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

    IUCN Species Status
  • 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

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

    Species Account
  • Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus

    BirdLife 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

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

    Species Account
    In Australia the Papuan Frogmouth is restricted to north Queensland…
  • 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.
  • Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis

    Species Account
    The Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) is a species of bird in the family Podargidae.
  • Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

    IUCN Species Status
  • Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Batrachostomus septimus Tweeddale, 1877, Pasananca, near Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines. Three subspecies recognized.
  • Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • 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…
  • 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

    IUCN Species Status
  • 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

    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.
  • Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Solomons Frogmouth Rigidipenna inexpectata

    HBW Species Account
  • 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…
  • Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

    BirdLife Species Account
  • 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

    HBW Species Account
  • Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • 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.
  • Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Podargus cornutus Temminck, 1822, Bengkulu, Sumatra.
  • 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
  • Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

    BirdLife Species Account
  • 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

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Caprimulgus strigoides Latham, 1801, New Holland = Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

    IUCN Species Status
  • 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

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