Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sri Lankan Frogmouth - Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

A Pair of Sri Lankan Frogmouths photographed in Sinharaja, Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Frogmouth - Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

One of the highlights of our recent trip to Sinharaja was being able to photograph the Sri Lankan Frogmouth. When I was planning the trip I did wonder whether we'd actually get to see one of these birds but I didn't get my hopes up because they are nocturnal. We were quite fortunate to come across a pair of them in a daytime roost.

More photographs after the jump.

A Pair of Sri Lankan Frogmouths photographed in Sinharaja, Sri Lanka
 Sri Lankan Frogmouth - Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

The birds are found throughout the Western Ghats of India and in Sri Lanka. Their habitat consists of dense tropical forest with thick undergrowth. The guide we were with did a good job locating this pair as they were hidden deep in the undergrowth well off the track. Their plumage helps them blend into the gloomy environment as well. However, the fact that they use the same daytime roosts for up to a month worked in our favour.

A Pair of Sri Lankan Frogmouths photographed in Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Frogmouth - Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

I was actually quite surprised by the size of the Sri Lankan Frogmouth. I had seen the Tawny Frogmouth in Australia and was expecting the Sri Lankan Frogmouth to be a similar size but it was actually 2/3 the size of the Tawny Frogmouth. 

A Pair of Sri Lankan Frogmouths photographed in Sinharaja, Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Frogmouth - Sinharaja, Sri Lanka

Photographing this pair was quite a challenge. Firstly, the dense undergrowth limited the choice of compositions that were available. As you can see in these photographs, there is a branch that was diagonally between the two birds and made it impossible to get a clear shot. Secondly the light wasn't great. I had to bump up the ISO a fair bit to be able to use a shutter speed of 1/125th. There was no room to setup a tripod.

These photograph were taken with a Canon 7D and the 100-400mm lens.
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