Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

Video of Kookaburra eating a snake

The Laughing Kookaburra is found on the east coast of Australia living in open forest, woodlands, and often seen in suburban gardens. It is the largest of the Kingfisher family that has more than 80 species the world over, Australia is home to 10 species, the Laughing Kookaburra being one.
 It is best known for its laughter and when one Kookaburra laughs the family usually join in.  This laughter is a warning to other Kookaburras to keep away. Anyone living in Australia, or any visitor to our shores are well acquainted with the "laugh" of the Kookaburra, it tilts it's head upwards and the tail moves up and down when making this distinctive sound.  Early settlers are said to have been very unnerved by this laugh in the forest, probably not knowing at first what made it.
Introduced predators include foxes and cats. Kookaburras are not good flyers. If surprised, they will fluff up their wings to try to scare predators away.
The Kookaburra rarely eat fish as one might assume from its Kingfisher name, but prefer eating rodents, lizards, yabbies, a variety of insects, and is also well known for eating young snakes. They watch in silence from a vantage point in a tree, and then swoop down to catch the prey. They kill their prey by holding it in their strong beak, and beating it against a tree branch.

Males and females become permanent partners. The male has a blue patch on its rump and  the female has a brown rump apart from that small difference they look very much alike and mate for life.
They nest in a hollow of a tree trunk or branch, two or three eggs are laid and after hatching the chicks are cared for up to 13 weeks before being independent, however most stay with the family and help raise next year’s offspring.


Field Guide to the Birds Of Australia

Simpson & Day

Every Australian Bird Illustrated, Rigby




17 January, 2010


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All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.