Why rainy days are the best for spotting the Rain Whistling Frog.
While sunny days are great for spectacular views over the rainforest, rainy days bring their own, special quality.
On a warm wet day, usually just following rain, the rainforest floor quite literally comes alive! Listen out from tower 6 onwards for a distinctive whistling sound coming from all over the forest floor. It could easily be mistaken for a bird but this sound actually comes from the Rain Whistling Frog (Austrochaperina pluvialis), one of our 27 frog species endemic to the Wet Tropics.
This little frog is only 2-3cm long, yet the males can easily be heard from a gondola 40m above!
There is also a very interesting reason why these frogs can be heard all throughout the forest, far away from any water source. They are from the family Microhylidae and all 24 species found in Australia completely bypass the tadpole phase of their lifecycle. The ability for a tiny froglet to hatch directly from an egg means they are not dependent on any water source and can breed in crevices in rocks, leaf litter or even up in the trees!
Another frog that you can hear in our rainforest is the Northern Barred Frog (Mixophyes schevilli). Also endemic to the Wet Tropics, the Northern Barred Frog can be heard alongside the streams near Barron Falls Station.
Listen out for a deep “wark, wark” usually just after heavy rains. The barred frogs are among Australia’s largest frogs, and their tadpoles can grow up to 12.5cm! The Barred Frogs lay their eggs on steep banks next to fast flowing streams so the heavy rain washes them into the stream where the tadpoles can hatch.
Northern Barred Frog. Photo by Ranger Tim Hackwood.
Australian Tropical rainforest information and Images supplied by Skyrail Environmental Ranger & Wildlife photographer Tim Hackwood