Hodgson’s Frogmouth – appearance and parenting

posted in: Morphology-Develop., Nesting | 0

Samson Tan’s images of the Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) were photographed at the Doi Pak Hom Pok National Park in Thailand in 2014. He encountered six birds among which was a nesting pair LINK 1 and LINK 2. These are secretive, nocturnal birds with brownish grey plumage that provides excellent camouflage (above).

One thing that is prominent in the frogmouth is the abundance of long slender bristles and semibristles on the front of the face and around the ear coverts (above). And according to Holyoak (1999), their function “is virtually unknown, and may vary according to their position on the head. It is tempting to regard long rictal bristles as helping to direct prey into the mouth and perhaps serving a tactile function, whereas auricular plumes may assist in shedding rain water.”

The diet of this frogmouth consists of moths, beetles and other large insects. It sallies from a prominent perch to catch these moving prey. The presence of small insects hovering around the head in the previous image may be too small for the frogmouth eat. However, the insect near the left eye (above) may be taking too much of a risk.

It is noted that incubation and brooding duties are undertaken by the male during the daylight hours (above) and by the female during the night (below). Interestingly this is also seen in the Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans) LINK.

Samson Tan
Singapore
April 2014

Reference:
Holyoak, D.T. (1999). Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2013). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

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