Sri Lankan frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger)

Pair of Sri Lankan frogmouths
Loading more images and videos...

Sri Lankan frogmouth fact file

Sri Lankan frogmouth description

GenusBatrachostomus (1)

Distinctive in both its appearance and its loud laughing song, the Sri Lankan frogmouth is a tropical bird related to the nightjars. So called because of its large, gaping mouth, the Sri Lankan frogmouth’s head is as wide as its body, and has a broad, flattened, hooked bill. The female is rusty red with sparse white freckling, whereas the male is grey and more heavily spotted with white. The tail feathers are long and narrow (2).

Also known as
Ceylon frogmouth.
Length: 23 cm (2)

Sri Lankan frogmouth biology

The Sri Lankan frogmouth is nocturnal, hunting insects at night and resting on branches during the day. It builds a nest in the fork of a tree from 2 – 12 metres above the ground, lining it with moss, small leaves, twigs and underfeathers (3). A single white egg is laid and is incubated by the female at night and the male during the day (2). The white chick is cared for over a period of weeks before dispersing (3).


Sri Lankan frogmouth range


Sri Lankan frogmouth habitat


Sri Lankan frogmouth status

The Sri Lankan frogmouth is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Sri Lankan frogmouth threats

The Sri Lankan frogmouth can inhabit shade-grown coffee plantations, which require the presence of the taller trees of native forest, and are therefore relatively ecologically sound. However, a recent trend has seen tea plantations becoming more profitable than coffee plantations, leading to the destruction of native forests. Habitat is also being lost to fires, forestry operations, water resource development, cultivation and grazing (4).


Sri Lankan frogmouth conservation

The Sri Lankan frogmouth is found in several protected areas including the United Nation’s Biosphere Reserves. Outside these reserves it is necessary to discourage the loss of shade-grown coffee crops in favour of more damaging crops, possibly by the use of an incentive scheme. It is also important to increase the diversity of native shade-trees (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For more information on Biosphere Reserves see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
Active at night.


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (December, 2004)
  2. Wikipedia (December, 2004)
  3. In Quest of the Frogmouth Nest (No series) (2002, d. Suresh Elamon).
  4. Shankar Raman, T.R. (2004) Effects of landscape matrix and plantations on birds in tropical rainforest fragments of the Western Ghats, India. CERC Technical Report No. 9. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India.

Image credit

Pair of Sri Lankan frogmouths  
Pair of Sri Lankan frogmouths

© Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
155 Model Farm Road
Colombo 8
Sri Lanka


Link to this photo

ARKive species - Sri Lankan frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in the Western Ghats eco-region

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!