Bech, C. and S.C. Nicol (1999). Thermoregulation and ventilation in the tawny frogmouth, Podargus strigoides: a low-metabolic avian species. Aust. J. Zool. 47: 143-153.
Oxygen consumption (VO2) and body temperature (Tb) were measured during daytime (corresponding to the normal resting phase) in the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides, mean body mass of 341 g) at ambient temperatures (Ta) between -1oC and 30oC. Mean body temperature (over this range of Ta) was 37.8C and there was only a small (0.4C), and insignificant, day-night variation in Tb. Mean VO2 within thermoneutrality (25-30C) was 0.59 ml O2 g-1 h-1, corresponding to a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 3.32 W kg-1. This value is only 61% of the predicted value for a non-passeriform bird. The minimal thermal conductance attained at Ta below thermoneutrality was 0.156 W kg-1 C-1, a value which is very close to the allometrically predicted value. The relatively low VO2 was paralleled by a low total ventilatory volume. This, in turn, was mainly the result of a low respiratory frequency (10.2 breaths min-1, only 52% of that expected for a similar-sized bird) whereas tidal volume (6.6 ml [BTPS]) was 107% of the expected value. Thus, our results suggests that the changing ventilatory needs during the evolution of the low VO2 in the Tawny Frogmouth have been met primarily by changes in respiratory frequency.