Northern Banjo Frog

Common name: northern banjo frog, scarlet sided pobblebonk

Scientific name: Limnodynastes terraereginae

Family: Limnodynastidae (Australian ground frogs)

Conservation status: The northern banjo frog is listed as Least Concern in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992).


The northern banjo frog is a ground-dwelling burrowing frog. It is a big frog with a robust build about the size of a clenched fist (up to 75mm in length). It is a grey or brown back colour with darker blotches and grey sides overlaid with irregular yellow or orange markings which also occur on the upper arms. It is these yellow and orange markings on the side that gives the frog its other name the scarlet-sided pobblebonk. The groin and hidden surface of the thigh is bright red. A white or yellow raised fold runs from below the eye to the shoulder. The belly of the frog is white or creamy in color.

Habitat and distribution

The northern banjo frog is found near permanent water or temporary summer pools. It favours river flats, coastal lowlands and marshy areas. They are found through eastern Queensland to the tip of Cape York Peninsula in north Queensland, and as far south as northern central New South Wales along the western edge of the Great Dividing Range.

Life history and behaviour

The northern banjo frog lives up to its musical name. Its short, high-pitched call is a series of 'plonks', not unlike the plucking of a banjo string. The eggs of the northern banjo frog are brown and laid from spring through summer after heavy rain in a white foam nest on the surface of the water. This burrowing species will spend time underground during dry periods. They are often hidden under leaf litter and over hanging vegetation. It is usually only seen on the surface after rain.

Related information

Cogger, HG 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed New Holland, Frenchs Forest.

Robinson, M 2002. A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia. Australian Museum/Reed New Holland: Sydney.

Tyler, MJ and Knight, F 2009.Field guide to the frogs of Australia. CSIRO Publishing. Collingwood, Victoria.