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  1. 134 Photo by Nicola Mitchell
  2. 134_0 Photo by William Archer
  3. 134_1 Photo by William Archer
  4. 134_2 Spawn photo by Nicola Mitchell

Moaning Frog

Heleioporus eyrei


  • Colour:Brown or slate back with irregular yellow patches.  Males have large limbs but show no distinguishing sexual features. 
  • Tadpoles: Densely mottled with black and gold.  Have a red or gold vertebral stripe and curved lateral line.
  • Distinctive feature: Irregular patches of dull yellow or grey.
  • Size: Males 3.3 – 6.6cm. Females 4.6 – 6.3cm.


  • Call: A long and rising slow moan.  Males usually call from the breeding burrow.
  • Diet: Mostly invertebrates
  • Movement:.Travel large distance to breeding sites and are often seen on roads following autumn rain
  • Breeding: Clutches of 80 – 500 eggs are laid in a burrow dug at an angle to the horizontal land surface. Larvae hatch and remain in the foamy egg mass until the burrow is flooded.  Tadpoles feed for several months.  Metamorphosis is usually in September or October.

What to Observe

  • Calling
  • The appearance of tadpoles

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

  • We expect moaning frogs to start calling and breeding later in the year as a due to later autumn rains in the South west of Australia.
  • 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

March - August.  Males call in response to declining temperature. Large choruses are most common for a month or so after the first rains in autumn in areas that flood later in winter.

Where To Look

  • South West Australia
  • Coastal and near coastal districts from Geraldton south and east to Cape Arid.  Inland to Marchagee, Corrigin, Jerramungup and Gobson Soak.  Also found on Rottnest Island and Bald Island.
  • Look and listen in swamps with sandy soil. Often calls from suburban gardens

Moaning frog distribution map - IUCN red list

Moaning frog distribution map - IUCN Red List

Where To Look

Maps of Habitat Suitability


Current probability
of occurrence
2070 probability
of occurrence (RCP 8.5)
Species range change from
current to 2070 probability

Above, the left and middle maps show the modelled habitat suitability for the the species under current and potential future climate conditions. The colours indicate the predicted habitat suitability from low (white) to high (dark red).

The future habitat suitability is modelled for the year 2070 under a climate change scenario that represents 'business as usual' (RCP 8.5). The map on the right shows how the range of the species might change between now and 2070, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, green areas where the species range might expand, and blue areas where the habitat is predicted to be suitable for the species now and in the future.

The models for this species were run in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Please note that while models can be very informative, they are only a representation of the real world and thus should always be viewed with caution. You can read more about the science behind these models here.



Tyler, M. J. & Doughty P. 2009 Field Guide to Frogs of Western Australia Western Australian Museum

Bush, B, Maryan, B, Browne-Cooper, R and Robinson, D 2007 Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia University of Western Australia

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  1. What Else?

    This frog can be distinguished from other Heleioporus species by its size, call and lack of nuptial spines.

  1. Did You Know?

    Male moaning frogs don’t have the nuptial spines found on the first or second fingers of other Heleioporus species.

    Named after Edward John Eyre who with his Aboriginal Guide was the first white person to walk across the Nullarbor Plain in 1841.

    Moaning Frogs are common in and around Perth and are frequently heard calling in gardens adjacent to wetlands.

    Moaning Frog call recording is by Dale Stewart, University of Western Australia

  1. Listen to the Call