Southern Brown Tree Frog Maximilian Imran Faleel/Flickr

Southern Brown Tree Frog

Litoria ewingi

Did You Know?

  • It takes between 12 and 26 weeks for tadpoles to start changing into frogs
  • Females lay between 500 and 700 eggs at one time
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The southern brown tree frog is native to southern Australia. Other common names of this tree frog are brown tree frog, whistling tree frog, or Ewing's tree frog.

Ranges from pale fawn, cream, or orange to light brown, although some individuals in western Victoria and South Australia are partly or completely green. It has a wide brown band that starts from between its eyes and runs down its back. Darker flecks are also scattered across its back. It has a narrow black or brown stripe that runs from its snout to its shoulder, and a pale stripe that runs from below its eye to the base of its arm. Its belly is white to yellow and breeding males have a light brown vocal sac (beneath their mouth).

Distinctive features

Its back is smooth with small lumps, its fingers have no webbing and its toes are half webbed.

Size

2 - 4.5 cm

Behaviour

Call

Males call when hidden among vegetation in water, or at the water’s edge. Less commonly, they can be heard calling far away from water. Their call is a series of rapid, harsh whirring, pulsing notes (“creeeeeee creee creee cree cree cree”) that are repeated between 5 and 15 times, and the first note is usually held the longest.

Listen to the Southern Brown Tree Frog call © Nature Sounds/David Stewart

Diet

Insects, which it can leap to catch in mid-flight!

Movement

Agile climbing and jumping.

Breeding

Males call to attract females throughout the year, but more frequently and intensely after heavy rain. Breeding peaks in late winter/early spring and in autumn. Females lay their eggs in jelly clumps (usually under water, attached to submerged vegetation), in the still waters of streamside ponds, dams, lakes, and flooded roadside ditches and ponds. The tadpoles hatch after four to six days.

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What to Observe

  • Calling

  • Courting/Mating

  • The appearance of eggs

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Most of the year
  • Breeding peaks in late winter/early spring and in autumn
  • Listen for males calling at night, particularly after rain

Where To Look

 

  • South-eastern Australia, from the Murray River through southern Victoria and Tasmania and into south-eastern South Australia
  • Also found along the south coast of NSW
  • In a wide range of habitats including coastal lagoons, swamps, forests, grasslands and marshes, and often in urban gardens
  • Look in or near still or slow-moving water, especially suburban gardens and flooded grasslands
  • Frequently found under logs and rocks, and also clinging to windows and visiting bathrooms
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What Else?

Similar Species

Victorian Frog/False Ewing's Tree Frog (Litoria paraewingi) is generally smaller, with a slower call and not normally found in the same areas.

Verreaux's Tree Frog (Litoria verreauxi) has dark or black blotches on its sides, and its finger/toe pads are only as wide as, not wider than, its fingers/toes.

Lesueur's Tree Frog (Litoria lesueuri) has a visible ear drum (a darker patch just behind its eye).