Scientists claim to have identified the world’s most “Instagram-like” bird – the strange, unkempt frogmouth (Podargidae) from Asia and Australia.
Researchers in Germany collected 27,621 photos of birds from nine bird-related Instagram accounts, including data on how many likes each photo garnered.
Using an algorithm to analyze their “aesthetic appeal”, they found that photos of frog mouths received the highest number of likes, based on the exposure of the posts to the followers of the accounts.
Often mistaken for an owl, the frog’s mouth is known for its messy plumage and weird facial expressions reminiscent of Beaker from The Muppets.
The frog’s mouth was dubbed “the world’s most unlucky bird,” in the newspaper in 2004, meaning this new title is “a matter of poetic justice,” researchers say.
Blyth’s frogmouth perched on a branch in lush foliage on tropical humid lowland forest, Thale Ban National Park, Satun, south of Thailand
The frog’s mouth (Podargus) is well camouflaged in its native forest habitat. It was named “the most unlucky bird in the world” in 2004
Becher (left) next to his colleague Dr. Bunsen Honeydew with Sam the Eagle in the background, in a recording from The Muppets (2011)
Native: Mainland Australia and Tasmania.
diet: Insects, worms, snails and slugs. Small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten.
size: 13 to 20 inches.
song: A soft, deep and continuous low space. Also makes a loud hiss when threatened.
breed: Usually between August and December. Males and females take turns incubating eggs.
behavior: They are nocturnal and spend most of the day camouflaged on branches.
The study was carried out by Katja Thömmes and Gregor Hayn-Leichsenring at the Jena University Hospital.
“The frog’s mouth brings this element of surprise with it because with its almost anthropomorphic features it just doesn’t look like any other bird,” said Dr. Thömmes of the New York Times.
“I have to admit that I liked this strange nocturnal bird a lot myself.”
Because frogmouths are nocturnal, it’s not uncommon for them to sleep during the day in Southeast Asia and Australia, doing their best to look like part of a tree.
According to the Australian Reptile Park, their silver-gray plumage with black and brown stripes, speckled with russet and white spots, allows them to blend in with their surroundings.
Their cover only inflates when they try to fly away or warn predators by opening their wide mouths – a trait that gives them their name.
For their study, the researchers used nine Instagram accounts with a total of nearly 3.5 million users, including @birdfreaks, @birdsonearth and @bestbirdshots.
They calculated the expected number of likes each bird photo should get on the accounts based on when the photo was posted and the number of followers on each account.
Tawny frogmouth, Podargus strigoides, natural light roost in the tropical eucalyptus forest, Mount Carbine, North Queensland, Australia
This resulted in an IAA (Image Aesthetic Appeal) rating for each species that was highest for the frog’s mouth.
“Say a photo is liked 12,425 times on Instagram,” said Dr. Thommes. “That number alone doesn’t mean much, especially if we want to compare it to another photo.
“By checking reach and time, for example, we can determine that” Photo X “received 25 percent more likes than audience exposure alone can explain.”
Although the frogmouth was not found to be the most frequently posted bird, it garnered more likes than expected and was therefore the “Instagrammable” according to the team.
Other birds at the top of the ranking were brightly colored pigeons with decorative plumage and the emerald green turaco with its crown-like head feathers.
After examining the effects of bird color, the team found that blue birds tended to have higher IAA scores and yellow birds tended to have lower IAA scores.
This fits in with previous research in Human Color Preferences – In a 2010 study, blue was associated with pleasant things like clear skies and clean water, while potentially harmful objects like rotten food are often yellow.
Blue birds had the highest score, followed by red birds, green birds, and yellow birds. Yellow birds can often see items like rotten food being yellow
Other birds that topped the ranking were the emerald green turaco with its crown-like head feathers. Pictured a red crested turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus)
“I believe that part of the human aesthetic experience results from objective characteristics of the stimulus,” said Dr. Thommes.
“In the visual field there are certain colors, shapes and even more basic image statistics that appeal to our perception more than others.”
The team, which also claims to have demonstrated the benefits of “readily available Instagram data for aesthetic research,” published their study in i-Perception magazine.
The picture shows a large frog mouth chick that seems to be smiling – but its mother doesn’t look quite as enthusiastic. Photo taken in Lanchang, Pahang, Malaysia
A yellow-brown frog’s mouth is proudly depicted here as camouflage at the end of the branch, which helps it to catch its meal. Taken in Victoria, Australia
Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides, Brisbane, Australia. Podargus is often confused with an owl, although some species look very different from the most famous species of owl
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS REST DURING THE DAY AND ARE ACTIVE AT NIGHT
Some animals, including frogs, rely on the starry sky at night (file photo)
Nocturnal animals rest during the day and are active at night.
This means that without the help of the sun, they hunt, mate, and perform other necessary survival activities.
Many nocturnal animals have built in body functions that help them survive during the night hours when they can be difficult to see.
For example, some nocturnal animals have larger eyes, which allows them to function satisfactorily in the dark.
Additionally, some nocturnal animals have extremely sensitive ears that can help them defend themselves in dark environments.
Finally, some have improved their senses of smell, touch, and taste to help them perform better at night.