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Decades of community action brings a disappearing frogmouth back from the brink

Date: 01-Sep-17
Author: Josh Cole

The marbled frogmouth is a rare, smaller relative of the well-known tawny frogmouth © Conor Clayton

The marbled frogmouth is a rare, smaller relative of the well-known tawny frogmouth

A joint effort by Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council and local volunteers has kept the marbled frogmouth in the Blackall range and promoted awareness about the tawny frogmouth’s smaller cousin.

Marbled frogmouths are the smallest of the frogmouth family and, as anyone lucky enough to spot the far-more-common tawny frogmouth in their garden could tell you, they’re hard to find. Known for plumage that camouflages them amongst tree bark, they’re heavily dependent on sub-tropical rainforests, and habitat loss has led them to being given Vulnerable status in Queensland and New South Wales.

In fact, during the 70s residents in the Blackall range on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland thought that marbled frogmouths were long gone until bird watcher Greg Roberts recorded their distinctive call, in which they ‘gobble’ and clap their beak. 

More recently initiatives such as the Sunshine Coast Council’s Land for Wildlife program and Planet Ark’s National Tree Day have since encouraged the replacement of lost habitat and connected wildlife corridors. There has also been a surge of volunteers assisting with weed management, ensuring that native plant species can thrive along with the insects that frogmouths feed on.

As for the elusive birds, while there are only 12 breeding pairs in the Blackall ranges now it’s been described by Roberts as a ‘rare good news story in conservation’ in an interview with the ABC.

Restoring the region has led to other benefits too, with improved numbers of sooty and powerful owls. Powerful owls are the Australia’s largest owls, and though they’re more abundant than marbled frogmouths, they are similarly affected by habitat loss.

These conservations efforts are ongoing, with groups such as Hinterland Bush Links working with local landowners and volunteers to ‘protect, restore and connect’ habitat in the region.

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.  


Josh                                              Cole
Author: Josh Cole

Josh comes to Planet Ark after a stint in legal communication and from a background in print journalism. He studied Communications and Media as a mature age student in Wollongong where he re-discovered his love for the natural environment.

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