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Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Batrachostomus moniliger

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, known scientifically as Batrachostomus moniliger, is a diminutive avian species, stretching to a modest 23 centimeters in length. Its appearance is characterized by a broad, hooked bill with slit-like nostrils, and a large head with forward-facing eyes that afford it an expansive field of binocular vision. The plumage of this bird is a masterful mimicry of dried leaves, aiding in its concealment when perched amidst the forest's foliage.

Identification Tips

The male of the species sports a gray-brown plumage with fine barring and a spotted crown, while some may appear browner, closely resembling the females. Females, on the other hand, are more rufous or chestnut brown in coloration. The Western Ghats population, known as ssp. roonwali, exhibits subtle differences; males have a brownish-gray wing mirror with yellowish spots on the undersides, and females flaunt a bright reddish-brown wing mirror with unspotted wings below.


The Sri Lanka frogmouth is a denizen of the tropical forests of southwest India and Sri Lanka, thriving in environments with dense undergrowth. It has also been known to inhabit more disturbed areas, including plantations.


This species is endemic to the Western Ghats of south India and the verdant expanses of Sri Lanka, where it blends seamlessly into the forest habitat.


During daylight hours, the Sri Lanka frogmouth is a master of disguise, often remaining unseen at its roost or when disturbed. It exhibits a remarkable stillness, occasionally performing a slow head movement and pointing its bill skyward to further its resemblance to a broken branch. Its diet consists primarily of insects, which it captures in flight or picks from the ground or tree branches. At dusk, it becomes vocal, with the female emitting a loud, screechy call that tapers off into a series of hiccups.

Song & Calls

The female's call is a distinctive "shkeerauuw," which diminishes in volume and concludes with a sequence of hiccups. Both sexes also produce a rapid "skwar-skwar-skwar" at twilight.


The breeding season varies by region, occurring from January to April in southern India and from February to March in Sri Lanka. The nest is a modest construction of moss, down, lichens, and bark, where a single white egg is incubated. The male often takes on daytime brooding responsibilities, while both parents share the task at night. After the fledgling leaves the nest, the male dismantles it, though the same branch may be used for subsequent nestings.

Similar Species

While there are other frogmouth species, the Sri Lanka frogmouth can be distinguished by its specific plumage patterns and the subtle differences between the sexes and regional populations.

Diet and Feeding

Insectivorous by nature, the Sri Lanka frogmouth hunts its prey in the air or gleans them from surfaces, showcasing its adaptability in feeding habits.

Conservation status

The Sri Lanka frogmouth is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating a stable population without immediate threats to its survival.

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Sri Lanka Frogmouths on Birda


More Frogmouths

A photo of a Hodgson's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) , male

Hodgson's Frogmouth

Batrachostomus hodgsoni
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