Family Frogmouths (Podargidae)

Least Concern

Papuan Frogmouth (Podargus papuensis)


French: Podarge papou German: Papuaschwalm Spanish: Podargo papú

Podargus papuensis

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Considerable geographical variation in size in New Guinea region, but chequerboard pattern of distribution of large and small birds makes recognition of races impractical. Although two races recognized in Australia by some authors, a larger, paler form on Cape York Peninsula (rogersi) and a smaller, darker form in coastal NE Queensland S of Cooktown (baileyi), Cape York individuals appear indistinguishable from those of S New Guinea and some characters of baileyi can be matched by certain New Guinea populations. Treated as monotypic.


W Papuan Is, New Guinea (including islands in Geelvink Bay), Aru Is, and NE Australia in N & E Queensland (Cape York Peninsula S to Staaten R and Paluma Range).

Descriptive notes

45–60 cm; 256–599 g. Largest of genus, with long tail; coloration rather variable, and some birds much darker than others. Male’s upperparts generally... read more


Reported to be vocal virtually only when breeding. Territorial song a low-pitched, resonant series... read more


In New Guinea, inhabits savanna with trees, rainforest (mainly at edge), second-growth woodland,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists mostly of large beetles and grasshoppers, but also includes other insects, spiders, myriapods, snails, lizards, rodents and... read more


Season in Australia Jul–Feb, mostly Aug–Dec, with peak Oct–Nov; incomplete information from New Guinea suggests laying... read more


Although some Australian literature suggests that species is migratory, this is based on old... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Apparently remains common in parts of its limited Australian range; in New Guinea generally not uncommon, and locally fairly common (e.g. in... read more

Recommended citation

Holyoak, D.T. (2020). Papuan Frogmouth (Podargus papuensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).