Tawny frogmouth

Latin Name
Podargus strigoides




Often mistaken for an owl, the tawny frogmouth is actually a member of the nightjar family. The bird is named for its large mouth, which it uses to catch insects and small animals. Both male and female tawny frogmouths have gray plumage with occasional black streaks.



The tawny frogmouth can be found throughout Australia.


Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Tawny Frogmouth Species Survival Plan®, a shared management effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


The species makes its home in woodlands and forests.


A nocturnal bird, the tawny frogmouth uses its large eyes and excellent hearing to hunt. The bird's gray plumage blends in among the branches of its home, helping it avoid detection by predators during the day.

Life History

Tawny frogmouth breeding pairs typically return to the same nesting spot every year, expanding the platform of sticks that make up the nest. The female lays two-three eggs, and both parents participate in the incubation and care of their young.

Special Adaptations

The tawny frogmouth's gray feathers help it blend in with the bark of its forested home.

Bonus Content

tawny frogmouth at Lincoln Park Zoo

What Happens After Hours? 
Most animals end their day after the guests leave, hunkering down for a well-earned night of sleep. But what about the zoo’s nocturnal species? We shed light on the zoo at night.


Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit