Bush Squeaker (Arthroleptis wahlbergi)

View the above photo record (by M Douglas) in FrogMAP here.

Find the Bush Squeaker in the FBIS database (Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) here.

Family Arthroleptidae

BUSH SQUEAKER – Arthroleptis wahlbergi

Smith, 1849


This is a forest species but it is also found in adjacent thickets and grassland where there is dense cover and accumulations of leaf litter. The frogs are common where they occur and are frequently resident in gardens and even in alien tree plantations. Annual rainfall in the distribution range is 500–750 mm, and falls in summer.


Breeding takes place during spring and summer, with calling commencing immediately after rain (Channing 2001). In wet weather, males may be heard calling throughout the day and night from concealed positions in leaf litter. Clutches of 11–30 eggs are laid in damp leaf litter and develop directly into froglets which hatch and leave the nest after approximately four weeks (Wager 1986).

Arthroleptis wahlbergi
Dlinza Forest, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Mark Liptrot

Food items include woodlice and other crustaceans, beetles and, probably, other small insects that live in the leaf litter (Wager 1986). Predators of A. wahlbergi have not been recorded.

Status and Conservation

Although A. wahlbergi is not classified as threatened, in places its habitat is under pressure from housing development and the clearing of bush for agriculture. More detailed distribution information is needed to evaluate the species’ local conservation status. Where only small-scale disturbances occur, these frogs are able to recolonize gardens and similar areas of lush vegetation.

Arthroleptis wahlbergi
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Tyrone Ping


A. wahlbergi is endemic to the east coast of South Africa, from just south of Port St Johns (3129CD)northward to the Mozambique border (2632DD). In KwaZulu-Natal, its range extends inland to altitudes of c.1000 m in the mist belt, where it is particularly common. Although adults are difficult to find, the distinctive, loud advertisement call is a reliable means of identification and the atlas distribution data are therefore reasonably comprehensive and reliable.

Distribution of Arthroleptis wahlbergi. Taken from the FrogMAP database, April 2022.

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (FrogMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

More common names: Boskikker (Afrikaans)

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Channing A, Tippett RM.  Bush Squeaker Arthroleptis wahlbergi. BDI, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2021/11/15/bush-squeaker-arthroleptis-wahlbergi/

Recommended citation format: 

This species text has been updated and expanded from the text in the
2004 frog atlas. The reference to the text and the book are as follows:

Channing A 2004 Arthroleptis wahlbergi Bush Squeaker. In Minter LR
et al 2004.

Minter LR, Burger M, Harrison JA, Braack HH, Bishop PJ, Kloepfer D (eds)
2004. Atlas and Red Data Book of  the Frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and
Swaziland. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and Avian Demography
Unit, Cape Town.

Ryan Tippett
Ryan Tippett
Ryan is an enthusiastic contributor to Citizen Science and has added many important and interesting records of fauna and flora. He has been a member of the Virtual Museum since 2014 and has currently submitted over 12,000 records. He is on the expert identification panel for the OdonataMAP project. Ryan is a well-qualified and experienced Field Guide, and Guide Training Instructor. He has spent the last 18 years in the guiding and tourism industries. Ryan loves imparting his passion and knowledge onto others, and it is this that drew him into guide training in particular. Something that he finds incredibly rewarding is seeing how people he's had the privilege of teaching have developed and gone on to greater things. His interests are diverse and include Dragonflies, Birding, Arachnids, Amphibians, wild flowers and succulents, free diving and experiencing big game on foot. With this range of interests, there is always likely be something special just around the corner!