15 Ceylon Frogmouth Facts That You'll Never Forget

Rhea Nischal
Dec 13, 2022 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Discover surprising Ceylon frogmouth facts about its physical description, habitat, common names, and more.

The Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, is quite a small frogmouth that is related to nightjars. These birds are also known as the Sri Lankan frogmouth or the Sri Lanka frogmouth.

This species of bird is nocturnal (active during the night) in nature. The frogmouth species is found in the Western Ghats of Sri Lanka as well as the southern region of India.

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, species is found in tropical forest habitats where birds of this species quietly roost on tree branches.

Interestingly, each Sri Lankan frogmouth has a roost (a branch where it sleeps) preference that it uses daily unless disrupted in some way. They have a unique plumage that is patterned in such a way that helps these birds to camouflage very easily with their surroundings that are filled with branches of trees.

Their coloration is similar to that of dried leaves. The female bird has a chestnut brown plumage, whereas the male bird has a brown-gray plumage.

Just like these birds, their call is also quite unique and it can be heard during dusk and dawn time.

These small frogmouths can reach up to 9.1 in (23 cm) in length. They possess a broad and hooked bill like all other frogmouth species, with a distinct positioning of eyes on their large head.

They belong to the family of frogmouths, Podargidae, and the Batrachostomus genus. To get to know more about this impressive bird of India and Sri Lanka, we suggest you keep reading!

If you loved getting acquainted with the Ceylon frogmouth bird, you will definitely love to read about the snow goose and black-capped gnatcatcher too.

Ceylon Frogmouth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Ceylon frogmouth?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, is a relatively small species of frogmouth that belongs to the nocturnal frogmouths' Podargidae family, genus Batrachostomus, and order Caprimulgiformes. These frogmouths are nocturnal birds (active at night) like owls, that roost on a tree branch very quietly and dwell in a dense tropical forest. They are night-hunters who forage at night.

What class of animal does a Ceylon frogmouth belong to?

The small Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, bird is a member of the class of Aves.

How many Ceylon frogmouths are there in the world?

The population size of the Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, has not been evaluated yet as they have a discreet nature which makes it quite tough to evaluate their numbers. However, the population trend of these birds is stable with a 123,166.5 sq mi (319,000 sq km) extent of distribution.

The species is not threatened. Frogmouths are not endemic to any place in particular, but this bird is prevalent in Sri Lanka more than it is in India.

Where does a Ceylon frogmouth live?

The Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, species is found in southwest India in the Western Ghats as well as in Sri Lanka. This nocturnal bird inhabits tropical forests that have thick undergrowth, just like rhinoceros hornbills do. They can be most easily spotted in Goa and Kerala in India as these places receive a high amount of rainfall. 

What is a Ceylon frogmouth's habitat?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, can be spotted inhabiting a tropical forest or plantation. These birds are usually very hard to spot because of the coloration of their plumage that helps them in camouflaging excellently, as well as their nocturnal nature.

During the day, they relax upright on tree branches, similar to other frogmouth species. During the night, they prey upon insects with their big gape.

They are found in the Western Ghats of southwest India as well as in Sri Lanka.

This dense forest-dwelling bird resides in India at an altitude of 3937 ft (1200 m) above sea level, whereas in Sri Lanka, it resides at altitudes that are 5905 ft (1800 m) above sea level.

This bird is known to reside in undisrupted forests, but it can also dwell in small forested groves or secondary forests close to farms and villages.

Who do Ceylon frogmouths live with?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, can be spotted at their roost site (where they sleep) during the daytime. They are often surrounded by crowds of songbirds at their roost site.

The male, as well as the female, live together during the breeding season to take care of the single white egg in their nest. The pair can be spotted sitting on a tree branch commonly.

How long does a Ceylon frogmouth live?

The life span of the Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is not yet known. However, their relatives, tawny frogmouths can live a long life of 14 years. These tawny frogmouth females lay two to three eggs that take 26-30 days to hatch.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, starts in January and goes on until April in India. Whereas in Sri Lanka, frogmouths breed from February to March.

These frogmouths construct their nest at altitudes ranging between 6.5-19.6 ft (2-6 m) in a tree fork. Their nest is lined with down feathers, made of moss, and its exterior is lined with bark and lichens.

The female Sri Lankan frogmouth lays just a single white egg. Females of the Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) species incubate their single egg and the male and female Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) birds take care of the egg at night.

The male Sri Lanka frogmouth destroys the nest after the chick hatches in March. The chick stays with its parents for a few months.

What is their conservation status?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger species is classified under Least Concern as per the IUCN's Red List of Endangered species. This species of bird has a huge range of distribution. The population trend of the Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger is also stable. They are facing habitat loss due to forestry operation, grazing, cultivation, water resource development, and fires.

Ceylon Frogmouth Fun Facts

What do Ceylon frogmouths look like?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) species has an interesting physical description. This species exhibits slight sexual dimorphism and these birds look somewhat like the nightjars they are related to, but also like owls.

They have tiny eyes that are surrounded by stiff hair and a wide mouth. A male Sri Lanka frogmouth bird has a gray-brown plumage and is spotted heavily, whereas the female has a chestnut-brown plumage and has light white colored spots. Their coloration and pattern help them in camouflaging with a broken branch.

This bird has relatively smaller wings when compared to the other birds that are a member of its genus, Batrachostomus. Their covert feathers have black spots with white-colored tips.

The Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) bird also has a wide and hooked bill. This bill of this bird is very useful when it puts on a threat display. This bird can reach a length of 9.1 in (23 cm).

These frogmouths possess a huge head with a small pair of eyes. They are named so because of their big frog-like gape.

The Ceylon frogmouth has an earthy coloration that helps them in camouflaging.

How cute are they?

Birds of the Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) species have a goofy appearance with broad mouths and small eyes. However, they can look quite intimidating when they put up a threat display.

How do they communicate?

Birds of the Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) species make unique calls. The female Sri Lankan frogmouth is very vocal at dusk and can be heard making a screechy and loud call that sounds like 'shkeerauuww'.

At the end of this call, the volume drops and there are a series of hiccups. The common call that both male and female frogmouths make is a rapid series of 'skwar-skwar-skwar' sounds.

How big is a Ceylon frogmouth?

A Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, can reach up to 9.1 in (23 cm). Surprisingly, the Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) has a bill that is the same length as the bill of the toco toucan.

How fast can a Ceylon frogmouth fly?

The speed of the Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, is not known, however, we do know that this bird flies at a fast speed. The flight of this bird is fluttery and a tad weak. However, they have the ability to fly stealthily in dense forests.

How much does a Ceylon frogmouth weigh?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) weighs between the range of 3-4 oz (88-113 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Female and male birds of the Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) species do not have distinct names as per their gender.

What would you call a baby Ceylon frogmouth?

A baby Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, is an insectivorous bird that preys upon insects. They catch insects when in flight, or from the ground or tree branches. They are known to eat insects like moths, grasshoppers, and beetles.

When these frogmouths get startled, they move their large head very quietly to point their wide bill in an upward direction to brilliantly camouflage as a broken branch. Their brown-gray or dark-brownish coloration helps them significantly.

Another defense mechanism they use is to put up a threat display by opening their mouth wide open. These frogmouths are preyed upon by domestic cats, dogs, carpet pythons, and foxes.

Are they poisonous?

The Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, birds are wild birds that inhabit tropical dense forests and would not make great pets. They would simply not be able to adjust to the confinements of a cage as opposed to a dense forest.

Did you know...

The Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) looks like a cross between a nightjar and an owl but with a wide mouth and proportionally smaller eyes. It has intricately mottled feathers dappled in shades of gray and brown. The males are predominantly gray-brown, while females are rufous-toned.

The Ceylon frogmouth bird shares a close resemblance to Hodgson's frogmouth species (Batrachostomus hodgsoni).

The Ceylon frogmouth bird belongs to the order Caprimulgidae which includes nightjars, potoos, frogmouths, owlet-nightjars, and oilbirds.

How did the tawny frogmouth get its name?

The tawny frogmouth got its name from its tawny coloration and the fact that it possesses dark-colored streaks.

Do Ceylon frogmouths migrate?

The Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger, is a sedentary bird and does not migrate. This resident bird only flies to local distances for the purpose of catching prey or for breeding.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our trumpeter swan facts and ivory-billed woodpecker facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable birds of paradise advanced coloring pages.

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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