Rigidipenna inexpectata (Solomon Islands frogmouth)

Rigidipenna inexpectata is a rare bird that is only known from a few of the Solomon Islands.

It is a typical frogmouth and males and females have a similar appearance, with a brownish, speckled plumage.

The birds are only rarely seen as they are secretive and nocturnal, but interest in this species is growing, and new information about their habits is coming to light.

Molecular studies have revealed that Rigidipenna inexpectata is a member of a new genus of frogmouths, and is endemic to islands that once belonged to the large Pleistocene island of Greater Bukida (Cleere et al 2006).

Species detail

This species was first mentioned in the literature as an example of the marbled frogmouth Podargus ocellatus after a single specimen was collected by Dr Welchman on Bugotu in 1890 (Tristram 1892). However, it was correctly identified as a new species P. inexpectatus in June 1901, when 3 specimens (2 males and 1 female) were obtained on Isabel (Hartert 1901).

The species of frogmouth on the Solomon Islands was at first thought to be the more wide ranging marbled frogmouth Podargus ocellatus. It was only when Walter Rothschild’s collector A S Meek sent 3 specimens back to the Natural History Museum at Tring that Ernst Hartert was able to describe it as a species in its own right.

  • Rigidipenna inexpectata
    Taxonomy

    Rigidipenna inexpectata is a typical frogmouth. Find out how you might recognise it.

  • Rigidipenna inexpectata
    Distribution

    This secretive species is only found on a handful of the Solomon Islands in forested regions from the coast to mountain foothills, inland. Find out more.

  • Rigidipenna inexpectata
    Biology

    Little is known about this secretive nocturnal species. Find out what we know about its song.

  • Rigidipenna inexpectata
    Conservation

    Deforestation threatens this enigmatic bird’s survival, and research is underway to identify suitable protection measures. Find out more.

  • References

    Get reference material for Rigidipenna inexpectata.

Images

Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

© Brian R Field
Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

© Brian R Field
Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

© Chris Gooddie, www.pittasworld.com
Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

© Chris Gooddie, www.pittasworld.com
Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

Rigidipenna inexpectata

Rigidipenna inexpectata.

About the author

Nigel Cleere
Freelance ornithologist with a particular interest in Caprimulgiform birds

For the last few years I have been employed as a temporary curator by the Natural History Museum, completing a number of different contracts in the Bird Group, Department of Zoology.

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