Monday, October 4, 2010

Sri Lankan frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger)

Don’t be mistaken in thinking the frogmouth is, as its name suggests, an amphibian. This animal is actually a bird found in the dense tropical forests of Sri Lanka and parts of India. The name frogmouth describes the bird’s wide head and gaping mouth which it uses to catch insects. The females are often a red colour with white freckles, and the males are greyer with even more white freckles. They are nocturnal, meaning they only come out at night. During the day they sleep perfectly camouflaged upon forest branches, as a result they are notoriously difficult to spot.

Sri Lankan frogmouths build their nests in the forked branches of trees anywhere between 2 and 12 m off the ground. A very unusual characteristic of this bird is that it only lays one egg! The single white egg is incubated by both parents, with the male sitting on the egg during the day and the female at night. Once hatched the chick is looked after by the parents for three weeks before flying the nest.
The main threat to these birds is habitat loss. The forests they live in are being destroyed to make way for tea and crop plantations.

Things you can do?

1. Why not ask your parents to buy only sustainably managed tea and help protect the habitat of these birds and other forest dwelling wildlife.

2. Try making a home garden and growing some of your own vegetables. This is fun and easy to do and will help to reduce your demand for crops that damage the frogmouth’s vulnerable habitat.

3. Try listening out for these birds after dark, if you here a descending series of “klurck klurck klurck” calls you’ve heard yourself a frogmouth!

» Find out how else you can help to protect Sri Lanka's endangered species

Illustration by Asia Hewapathirana

1 comment:

  1. Another exciting thing you can do for the Frogmouth is go and ride for their rainforest homes in the Sri Lanka Cycle Challenge
    As well as cycling through the stunning rainforests of Sri Lanka and seeing amazing temples, villages and national parks, you will visit our Sri Lanka Plant a Rainforest Project, plant trees and contribute toward the protection of this vital ecosystem. Your efforts will be rewarded when you finish in the World Heritage listed city of Galle, with time to relax on the beach, swim or surf.