Meet the frogmouth, a group of birds with an oddly amphibian resemblance.
Frogmouths are nocturnal birds that you might mistake for owls at first glance; however, they’re most closely related to nightjars. These unique-looking birds sport wide, frog-like gapes and are found throughout the forests of India, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
The massive frog-like beak is adapted for quickly capturing insects, small lizards, and mice. These stocky birds have weak legs and feet and aren’t the strongest fliers, so they hunt by pouncing on their prey, snatching it up with their sizable beak and devouring it quickly.
Active mainly at night, frogmouths spend the day hours hiding in plain sight on forked tree branches. There, they remain perfectly still with their eyes closed and beak pointed upward to blend into the surrounding area. Their plumage camouflages perfectly into tree bark, as you can see below:
These guys are also known for their wide range of vocalizations. They generally communicate using low-frequency sounds, but some of their warning screams can be heard miles away. When threatened they will “hiss,” and if they’re disturbed while resting they’ll let out a series of buzzing sounds said to resemble swarming bees. At night, they’re often heard making continuous grunting noises, and during breeding season you’ll hear them making drumming noises.
Housecats, human activities, and forest fires are this bird’s biggest threat; however, for the time being, their populations remain stable.