Some birds eat frogs. This is mainly possible through an adapted body size and characteristics. A large head (compared to the size of its body), strong fangs and teeth, and an innate hunting ability help some frogs catch and eat birds.
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Are There Frogs That Eat Birds?
Some frogs only eat invertebrates. But there are a few frogs that eat vertebrates and birds of various sizes. Frogs typically eat insects, worms, and invertebrates. Other frogs can eat spiders, rodents, fish, and birds.
Frogs that eat birds benefit from sharp teeth and wide jaws in proportion to their bodies. These frogs are often used to control pests in agricultural fields around the world.
Frogs that eat birds also eat rodents making them the perfect pest-controllers in various agricultural fields such as sugar cane crops.
Most wild frogs eat flies, insects, spiders, slugs, moths, and other arachnids. Adapted frogs such as those living near water known as aquatic frogs also eat a large variety of fish, plants, and water insects.
A wide range of frogs can also eat other smaller frogs, caterpillars, and beetles. Limnonectes megastomias is one of the frogs also shown to eat birds.
Birds – birds are often eaten by frogs in the wild. Small birds are among the favorite prey of frogs with sharp teeth. They are normally consumed by opportunistic frogs who wait for birds to get close to water sources, swamps, and ponds where frogs spend most of the day.
Bats – most frogs that eat birds also eat bats. Bird-eating frogs found in Asia also eat small bats.
Rodents – frogs have grown for pest control in agricultural fields eat all types of animals attracted to crops such as birds and rodents.
Reptiles – small reptiles are often eaten by frogs. Reptiles and frogs often share the same habitat as both prefer moist environments and habitats close to water sources.
Insects – insects such as flies and moths are often consumed by frogs with or without sharp teeth.
Other frogs – most bird-eating frogs also eat other frogs. They do so even when caring for tadpoles. Bird-eating frogs can show a cannibalistic nature eating frogs of their species as well as frogs of other species.
How Do Frogs Catch Birds?
Frogs that catch birds are typical of average or large body size. Their heads are larger than the heads of other frogs about the size of their bodies. They have sharp teeth and teeth extensions or jawbone extensions known as fangs to help them catch birds easily.
Frogs that eat birds have a predatory nature. They use ambushing methods to stay camouflaged and quickly pounce on birds whenever they come in their range. The first frog to have been known to eat birds was raised in captivity for research purposes.
Frogs that eat bits are normally semiaquatic. They spend most of the day in shallow water or around water sources. These water sources attract birds that need to hydrate which means frogs have can eat them without leaving their preferred habitat.
Bird-eating frogs are also characterized by above-average aggressiveness. These frogs don’t miss the chance of eating a bird or any other small animals that can be overpowered. Some of these frogs have also been shown to bit humans, even in unprovoked attacks.
6 Types Of Frog That Eat Birds
The following frogs have been shown to eat a wide range of birds. Most of these are small birds that are easy to swallow.
1. American bullfrog
Scientific name: Lithobates catesbeianus.
Common name: American bullfrog, bullfrog.
The American bullfrog is a large green frog with black dots and a yellow underbelly. These large frogs are native to Eastern US but they have been introduced to Western areas. Today, they are found in all US states as their reproduction rate is impressive since there are very few American bullfrog natural predators.
This frog is also known for eating birds and even bats. It tends to eat whatever species it can overpower. American bullfrogs are also avid eaters which means this frog eats a lot. This had led to the diminishing of native populations in its habitat. Apart from eating whatever birds it can catch, the American bullfrog has also dramatically decreased Western pond turtle populations in areas of the country.
2. Khorat Big-mouthed Frog
Scientific name: Limnonectes megastomias.
Common name: Khorat Big-mouthed Frog.
This frog species has only been recently discovered. First seen in Thailand in 2008, the frog is among the most vivacious Dicroglossidae family. Living in Asia and subtropical regions, this is a frog that has a varied diet, including birds. These frogs also consume other frogs.
The long fangs of these frogs allow them to eat just about any small bird they encounter. There’s evidence to support the idea these long fangs aren’t for eating only. They are used in combat, mainly with other male frogs.
The hunting habits of this newly-discovered bird-eating frog are best described as opportunistic. It doesn’t move around to catch birds or other prey. It prefers to wait for its prey in streams and puddles. Its water sources attract all types of potential prey and the frog waits for them to come close before attacking.
3. Helmeted Water Toad
Scientific name: Calyptocephalella gayi.
Common name: helmeted water toad, Chilean helmeted bull frog, wide-mouth toad.
The Helmeted Water Toad is the sole frog of the Calyptocephalella family surviving today. This incredible survival rate is often attributed to its very aggressive behavior towards other animals and even towards other frogs.
This innate aggressiveness is what allows it to be a prolific hunter. The frog eats all types of small birds it can easily overpower.
Often found in shallow water, the frog can be green or brown, depending on its environment. These colors help it blend in vegetation essentially making it hard to detect for birds. It attacks and kills small birds as well as other mammals and fish since it lives next to water sources.
The Helmeted Water Toad is also one of the bird-eating frogs that mates in high numbers. The female frog lays up to 10.000 eggs in the water. Around 1.000 of these will eventually hatch into Helmeted Water Toads.
4. Cane Toad
Scientific name: Rhinella marina.
Common name: cane toad, giant neotropical toad, marine toad.
The Cane Toad is one of the largest bird-eating frogs. It comes in different colors depending on its habitat. This frog is originally from South and Central America but it was introduced in Oceania regions as a means of controlling the cane beetle, as its name suggests. It’s still widely used to control sugar cane crop pests today.
This frog is also a prolific eater. It eats all types of small birds and even bats. Rats are a common part of the diet in agricultural fields as well. Small reptiles are also frequently eaten by the Cane Toad.
Unlike many other frogs, Cane Toads are venomous. Simply touching the frog can lead to allergic reactions and even death for small animals. Dogs are the most problematic when falling sick or even dying after touching a Cane Toad.
5. African bullfrog
Scientific name: Pyxicephalus adspersus.
Common name: African bullfrog, pixie frog.
The African bullfrog is known for eating birds. It has very sharp teeth which allow it to eat a wide variety of birds it encounters in swamps around African countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, and South Africa. This Southern region of the continent is known for its high population of African bullfrogs.
The frog has been known for its high aggressiveness. It often eats tadpoles it guards. The known African bullfrog record in this range involves a frog-eating 17 tadpoles in captivity.
African bullfrogs are very aggressive towards humans. They emit a high-pitch sound when handled as a means to express concern. It’s also one of the few frogs that bites humans unprovoked. It can penetrate the skin with its bite due to its sharp teeth.
6. Indus Valley bullfrog
Scientific name: Hoplobatrachus tigerinus.
Common name: Indus Valley bullfrog, Indian bullfrog, Asian bullfrog.
The Indus Valley bullfrog is found in countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It’s a large frog of various colors reaching a width of up to 170mm.
The high population of these frogs around the world doesn’t see it as an endangered species, especially since it’s grown in farms for food in Thailand. China is the only country to have banned Indus Valley bullfrog exports.
But the frog is known for eating birds. It can do so using its sharp teeth. The Indus Valley bullfrog has oblique teeth which makes it one of the most prolific bird eaters in Asia.
With a semiaquatic nature, the frog is mostly found next to water sources but it can also jump on the water when trying to escape predators or a dangerous situation. It can also jump on the water to catch and eat small fish.
Frogs have a wide diet which often includes invertebrates and mammals. But frogs often eat birds, especially if they’re opportunistic hunters.
Since these frogs live close to water sources they normally wait for birds to drink water out of streams to attack. Most frogs that eat birds have a varied diet that involves eating rodents, insects, and even other frogs.