The Tawny Frogmouth is a large, big-headed, nocturnal bird (to 460mm). The plumage is silver-grey, patterned with white, black and rufous mottles and streaks which provide excellent camouflage while the bird is perched. The eye is large and yellow and the wide bill is olive-grey to blackish with distinctive tufts of bristles above the bill. Females are browner than males.
Tawny Frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. Like owls, the leading edges of the primary feathers are fringed to allow for silent flight.
The Tawny Frogmouth occurs in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, parks and gardens. During the day, they roost on tree branches camouflaged as part of the tree.
The Tawny Frogmouth's diet comprises large nocturnal insects such as moths, as well as spiders, worms, slugs and snails. Small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten. The Tawny Frogmouth pounces upon its prey from a perch.
Tawny Frogmouths are at risk of being hit by cars while chasing insects illuminated in the beam of the headlights.
The nest is a loose platform of sticks, usually placed on a horizontal forked tree branch. Pairs mate for life and are often seen perched together. Two white eggs are laid. Both sexes incubate the eggs. The male sits during the day, but both sexes share sitting at night.
A low, repeated "oom-oom-oom". (Audio recordings courtesy of Fred van Gessel
The Tawny Frogmouth is found throughout Australia.
In Tasmania, the species is a widespread and common resident throughout northern and eastern parts of the State.