Live Sounds: Why Banjo Frogs are Called Pobblebonks

These Australian natives sound uncannily like a banjo string being plucked. Podcast by Marc Anderson  
Banjo frog Australia
The Eastern Banjo Frog is part of the larger banjo frogs family. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons (

This particular sound from the wild could be mistaken for the beginning of a musical evening. One involving banjo players, specifically. Say hello to banjo frogs. These burrowing frogs, found in Australia, are recognisable by the prominent tibial gland found on their hind legs. Adults can grow up to about 85 mm.

Here’s what Marc Anderson, who recorded this clip, had to say: “Banjo frogs (also known as pobblebonks) get their name from their distinctive call which can be likened to a banjo string being plucked. Males utter a single explosive ‘bonk’ note which is repeated at intervals and answered by other males. They call from dense overhanging vegetation such as grass and sedges around the water’s edge. Several species of pobblebonk frog are found in Australia. In this recording, listen to the deeper call of the largest species giant banjo frog (Limnodynastes interioris).”


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