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Is it a bird …?

September 7, 2017

It’s relatively easy to record frog calls, but sometimes much more difficult to find and photograph the frog itself. One in particular is the Whistling (or Verreaux’s) Tree Frog, Litoria verreauxii, which has been calling around our wetland and dams recently, but which we have never managed to find, let alone photograph. To the rescue came Jo Wood, from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, who sent us the wonderful image below taken by Damien Cook.

The call is a repeated whistle – click on the audio bar below to hear it recorded near Strath Creek (with the Common Froglet, Crinia signifera, in the background). When we first heard it many years ago we assumed the perpetrator was a bird, especially as the sound was coming from a tree about 3m above ground. We never did discover the mystery bird and it was some time later that, with embarassment, we learnt the caller was a frog.

The male Whistling Tree Frog may call all year round, but at our place it seems to be mainly over winter/spring. It is predominantly a ground-dweller, although, as we discovered, it can climb with the aid of the pads on its digits, but perhaps not as well as some other Tree Frogs (family Hylidae) which have broader pads.

There are actually two sub-species – ours is Litoria verreauxii verreauxii and the other, Litoria verreauxii alpina, is found in alpine areas, and is considered Critically Endangered in Victoria and Vulnerable nationally. The Alpine Tree Frog’s call is slower and less whistle-like – probably not likely to be confused with a bird!

[Incidentally, if you want to identify a frog you’ve found or heard in this area, the iSpy Frogs free app developed by the GBCMA is a great place to start – and you can record your sighting on their database. A more recent addition is the iSpy Catchment Creatures app that includes birds, fish and reptiles, as well as frogs.]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jowood12 permalink
    September 7, 2017 8:05 am

    I think there is a plains froglet calling in the back ground also.

    • macwake permalink
      September 7, 2017 8:55 am

      Thanks Jo, you’re right. We did notice the plains froglet, but were concentrating too much on the whistling and forgot to mention it. Thanks again for the photo – audio posts alone are a bit bland!

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