Tawny Frogmouth Chick Thriving at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo


The birth of this tawny frogmouth at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo a couple of weeks ago caused a stir on the Internet, where it became known as a cottonball with a beak. The pictures immediately below here show what it looked like at a day old.

tawny-frogmouth-chick-pictures.jpgNow the chick is growing fast. At 20 days old, in the top picture, it “is doing great and meeting its expected developmental benchmarks,” the zoo said in a statement yesterday.

Tawny frogmouths are nocturnal birds native to Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea. Although frogmouths have many similar habits to owls, they are actually more closely related to nightjars and oilbirds.

The bird born at Woodland Park Zoo marks the first time the species has hatched at the 110-year-old zoo.

“The birth is significant for the zoo population in North America. Woodland Park is one of only four zoos to have successfully bred this species in the last six years,” the zoo said.

Zoo staff artificially incubated the egg for 25 days (incubation is typically 28-30 days). “Within an hour of hatching, staff returned the chick to the nest for the parents to take over parental care. The parents are attentive and protective of the chick and, based on the chick’s weight gain, they are doing a good job of feeding their chick.”

The 4-year-old mother and father arrived at Woodland Park earlier this year from Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.


The chick, shown here with dad, remains off exhibit with its parents.

All photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

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More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn