Not an owl

Not an owl.
Not an owl.

The Tawny Frogmouth is often referred to as an owl because of their large owl-like eyes and nocturnal habits, plus they also eat insects and have soft feathers. They are not owls, but they are closely related to nightjars. Unlike owls, the Tawny Frogmouth almost exclusively eats insects and they lack the long talons and powerful feet of the owl.

Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth

We rarely see these birds, Bundy and Maxi patrol the yard regularly and scare away any bird that dares to perch on our fence. Being nocturnal creatures, when we do see them it is for a brief period at night and they’re so quiet we don’t even notice them. Today I got lucky, as I was leaving the house I noticed an unusual stumpy branch on a nearby tree which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a Tawny Frogmouth. As I moved around him with my camera he barely moved, at any hint of a threat or disturbance these birds freeze, doing all they can to make themselves look like part of the tree.


Tawny Frogmouths generally like to inhabit open forests and bushland consisting of eucalypts and acacias. We are lucky to have such an environment close to home, it has given us so much joy especially over the last couple of years when we’ve had the privilege of seeing Koalas up close as well as a variety of native birds.

An extraordinary effort at camouflage.
An extraordinary effort at camouflage.

16 thoughts on “Not an owl

    • twoblackdoggies February 23, 2015 / 7:39 pm

      Thank you. They are a beautiful bird, those eyes really draw you in.

    • twoblackdoggies February 23, 2015 / 7:40 pm

      I’d always thought of them as owls and was surprised to find that they weren’t. We’ve only seen one owl here and the poor little thing wasn’t alive 😦

  1. davezart February 23, 2015 / 1:07 am

    Lovely photos. AND we both have a dog named Bundy

    • twoblackdoggies February 23, 2015 / 7:42 pm

      Thank you. Bundy is a pretty popular dog’s name here, also my hubby’s favourite beverage 🙂

  2. fredrieka February 23, 2015 / 7:03 am

    whoot he looks so much like an owl

  3. Lyn February 23, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    Very special. I always get excited when I see one of these as it is in fact a rare experience.

    • twoblackdoggies February 23, 2015 / 7:51 pm

      I know! It is so delightful to see them and there was no way I was going to let such an opportunity to pass me by 🙂

  4. Cecilia February 24, 2015 / 9:05 am

    You know, I would have guessed that it is an owl. What a beautiful bird! I’d like to see one in person. I love birds. Great photos.

    • twoblackdoggies February 24, 2015 / 2:49 pm

      Thank you 🙂
      They are very owl like and it is a real delight to see them because we’ve only had them visit a few times over the past 10 years.

  5. megtraveling February 28, 2015 / 8:21 am

    What a handsome bird and so versatile – great pictures Sam!

    • twoblackdoggies March 2, 2015 / 2:29 pm

      Thank you! They are gorgeous birds Meg, and I love they way that this one stayed put the entire time I was clicking away. it was almost as though he was pretending that I couldn’t see him in the hope that I would go away 🙂

  6. restlessjo March 5, 2015 / 6:24 pm

    That first shot is wonderful, Sam! What a lovely expression he’s wearing 🙂
    How are you? Busy, I bet.

    • twoblackdoggies March 5, 2015 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks Jo, I was so pleased that photo turned out because I tried to keep my distance and could see his face clearly. Makes me smile every time I look at that face 🙂 .
      Life has been very busy of late, my blogging and reading is a bit behind although I’ve got some photos to share. Hope you’re happy and well with Spring on the way 🙂

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