Northern Laughing Treefrog
Litoria rothii

The Northern Laughing Treefrog (Litoria rothii) is a medium sized hylid from tropical northeastern Australia.  Unlike some other species of Australian "treefrogs" the Northern Laughing Treefrog is found in trees.  

I generally found this species calling from trees near the edge of ponds.  They typically called from the trunk of the tree or the base of a larger branch.

The name Laughing Treefrog is a description of their call.  At first it is a bit like a dry rattle, but once they get going it is a gently descending chuckle that lasts around 1/2 a second.

Although the individual shown in the video below only calls twice, you can hear the chorus of other Litoria rothii calling all around him.  This was filmed near Lake Mitchell, Queensland on December 17, 2014.

My first encounter with this species took me by surprise.  I was birdwatching at a large swampy pond called Hastie's Swamp near Atherton, Queensland.  I was looking at birds from inside a two story wooden blind.  I had been in the bird blind for at least an hour when suddenly I was startled by this loud chuckling call from inside the blind with me.  I looked around and noticed that there were groups of Litoria rothii roosting in the rafters of the blind all around me.  I hadn't noticed them until they had called even though they were fairly conspicuous.   I counted over 30 of them in the blind with me.  In the photo below, you can see the gular pouch of a couple of these frogs as they began to call.

As it began to get dark, they started calling periodically from the rafters inside the blind.  Here's a sample of what it sounded like.  You can hear the "rattle" like nature of their call as they first start singing for the evening.

Strangely, they called periodically from inside the blind here as it began to get dark even though they were inside a wooden blind a good 30 feet away from the water.

© Chris Harrison 2014

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