Tawny Frogmouth

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Sometimes while walking around the forest at night I feel like something is watching me, and at any moment it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are a pair of eyes transfixed on me. In this case the eyes belonged to a tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), a silver nocturnal bird reminiscent of “Coo,” the plump bird that rock Kirby takes the form of in Kirby: The Crystal Shards.

“Coo” is the last one on the right. Like tawny frogmouths, rock Kirby in “Coo” form can fly silently through the air.

The tawny frogmouth occurs throughout Australia and Tasmania, escaping detection during the day due to its remarkable trunk-like camouflage. With closed eyes and stretching their body outward at an angle, their crypsis rivals if not surpasses that of any other terrestrial animal I can think of. Although they may look like owls at first glance, frogmouths are more closely related to nightjars and lack the powerful talons. I often hear them calling from above with a low repetitive “ooo” sound, and occasionally I spot one glaring down at the forest floor in search of prey.

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Every time I took a step forward this tawny frogmouth glared at me, making sure I was not a mouse rustling through the leaves. Unlike the barn and barking owls here, tawny frogmouths let me get very close to them, even just two meters away if I approach quietly. The edges of their wings are small and shaped in a way that allows for silent flight. Sometimes in the few seconds that I glance away they seem to vanish into thin air.

All three frogmouths in this post photographed in situ [1] before they fled

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