Two Tawny Frogmouth chicks that hatched in early April are being hand-reared at Paradise Park in the United Kingdom.
“The parents have sadly not been very successful in the past at raising their own chicks. So the decision was made to hand-rear these two to give them the best chance of survival,” explains zoo keeper Sarah-Jayne Cooke. The chicks are weighed regularly and are thriving on a diet of tasty worms.
Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are known for their ability to sit nearly undetected in the trees during the day. Their cryptic coloration allows them to blend in against tree trunks, and their habit of sitting immobile with head pointed upward gives the appearance of a broken branch.
Frogmouths are considered one of Australia’s most important pest-controlling birds. They feed at night on spiders, worms, slugs, wasps, ants, and other invertebrates.
These birds mate for life and typically raise one to three chicks in loose grass-and-stick nest.
At present, Tawny Frogmouths are not threatened with extinction, but human activity is having an impact on the wild population. House cats prey on these birds, and Frogmouths are often struck by cars as they pursue flying insects illuminated by vehicle headlights. Because Frogmouths tend to remain in the same home area for up to a decade, they become vulnerable when forests are cut for development.