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  1. 30 Northern Laughing Tree Frog Photo by Peter Street,

Northern Laughing (Roth's) Tree Frog

Litoria rothii


  • Colour: ranges from quite pale (almost white) to dark mottled brown, often grey to pale brown with darker mottling. It can change colour from a light shade during the day to very dark at night. It has black and yellow mottling on its groin and the backs of its thighs, and the base of its arms and its armpits are black. Its belly is white and it has a fine black line running from the corner of its eye to its armpit.  Its back is rough with small warts, its fingers are half webbed and its toes are fully webbed.
  • Distinctive feature: a two-toned eye that is red in the upper half and pale metallic gold below.
  • Size: 3.5 - 6 cm. 


  • Call: a chuckle or cackle consisting of 7 – 9 explosive and distinct notes that fade away, resembling maniacal laughter. Males usually call from the ground or low vegetation (up to two metres high) near water.
  • Diet: insects and small vertebrates.
  • Movement: commonly basks on exposed branches and beams of buildings, but may shelter under bark or in hollow branches during the heat of the day.
  • Breeding: males call throughout summer, particularly after heavy rain. The dark brown eggs are deposited in small clumps, as a free-floating raft in (often temporary) pools of water. Development into a frog takes between 65 and 146 days, after which they leave the water, returning only to breed. 

What to Observe

  • Calling
  • Courting/mating
  • The appearance of eggs 

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

  • We expect frogs to start calling and laying eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth.
  • They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. 

When To Look

  • From September to March.
  • Listen for males calling, particularly after heavy summer rains.

Where To Look

  • On the coast and near coastal areas from north-western Western Australia to central eastern Queensland. If away from the coast, it is usually near a large river system.
  • Most commonly in tropical to warm temperate open forest and grasslands, it is also common around urban areas. It generally stays close to permanent bodies of water; however, it will rely on temporary puddles for breeding if necessary.
  • In trees and other vegetation close to water.
  • They can also be found in water tanks and drainage systems or basking on tree branches and the beams of buildings. 

Northern Laughing Tree Frog Occurrence Map ALA


The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.


Barker J, Grigg GC and Tyler MJ 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

Cogger HG 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.

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  1. What Else?


    • Peron's Tree Frog (Litoria peronii): has green flecks on its back and a single-toned silver iris.
    • Tyler’s Tree Frog (Litoria tyleri): has numerous small green spots on its back and lacks the fine black line running from the corner of the eye to the armpit. It also lacks the two-toned eye of the Northern Laughing Tree Frog.
    • Bleating Tree Frog (Litoria dentata): has a similar two-toned eye but has a broad stripe running down its back and is not found in the same region as the Northern Laughing Tree Frog.
  1. Did You Know?

    It can tolerate temperatures of up to 39°C and can keep its body temperature as much as 10°C lower than the surrounding environment! 

    If 6 – 8 males on a flat plain call at the same time they can be heard more than a kilometre away!

    The call recording is by David Stewart Naturesound

  1. Listen to the Call