Funday Times

Sri Lankan frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger)

Endangered Animals of Sri Lanka
Written by Rainforest Rescue International Illustration by Asia Hewapathirana

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 two and twelve metres 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?

  • Why not ask your parents to buy only sustainably managed tea and help protect the habitat of these birds and other forest dwelling wildlife.
  • 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.
  • Try listening out for these birds after dark, if you hear a descending series of “klurck klurck klurck” calls you’ve heard yourself a frogmouth!

Discover more about Sri Lanka’s endangered animals on our blog:

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