Posted by: Mark Myers, Curator
What looks like an oversized cottonball with a beak is actually Woodland Park Zoo's first ever Tawny frogmouth hatchling!
Keepers had been artificially incubating the egg for about 25 days (shorter than the usual 28-30 day incubation period), and within an hour of hatching Thursday morning, returned it to the nest where the parents have now taken over care.
The parents, who came to us earlier this year from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, are very attentive and defensive of the chick so far. Based on the chick’s weight gain, they also seem to be doing a good job of feeding their new hatchling.
Woodland Park Zoo is one of only four zoos to have successfully bred this species in the last six years. As Population Management Plan coordinator for this species across all Association of Zoos & Aquariums institutions, I can say that this hatching represents a very significant achievement for the North American zoo population.
Native to Australia, the Tawny frogmouth is a nocturnal bird that preys on insects, mice, and other small terrestrial animals. Typically the male and female take turns feeding the chick until it is ready to leave the nest after approximately 25-35 days.
Keepers are monitoring the parents and hatchling in an off-exhibit area to be sure it is feeding regularly. You can see an adult male Tawny frogmouth in the Night Exhibit located near the Rain Forest Food Pavilion.
Photos by Ryan Hawk.