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frogmouth

frogmouth, common name for small, owllike birds of the family Podargidae, ranging in size from 9 to 21 in. (22.5–52.5 cm). Their soft plumage is a mottled gray-brown in color with little distinction between sexes. Their eyes are wide and the tongue large and paperlike. A close relative of the nightjars (see goatsucker), they share with them a wide, horny, flat, sharply hooked, boat-shaped bill, but unlike them, do not use it to capture insects on the wing. Rather, frogmouths feed on crawling animals, such as caterpillars, beetles, scorpions, and centipedes. They fly swiftly, but only over short distances, and the reduced tail feathers limit maneuverability. Nine species in the genus Batrachostomus are found from India to Malaysia. The remaining three species, in the genus Podargus, are found throughout Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. All are nocturnal forest dwellers. Podargus species build flat, twig platform nests, while species of Batrachostomus make cushions of their own feathers and camouflage them with moss and spiderwebs. Frogmouths lay one or two whitish eggs, which the males incubate by day and the females at night. Frogmouths are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Caprimulgiformes, family Podargidae.

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Podargidae

Podargidae (frogmouths; class Aves, order Caprimulgiformes) A family of brown, grey, and black, cryptically coloured birds which have broad, flat, hooked bills with a wide gape and basal bristles. They have mediumlength, rounded wings, and a long tail, are nocturnal, inhabit forest and bush, and feed on insects and small mammals caught on the ground. They nest in tree forks and the 10 species of Batrachostomus make their nests from a pad of down secured to a horizontal branch. There are two genera, comprising 13 species, found from south-east Asia to Australia.

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frogmouths

frogmouths See PODARGIDAE.

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