Laughing Kookaburra

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Description

Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaguineae, is a large bird sized at 40 to 47cm. It is the largest of Australia’s kingfishers, and features both back and wings coloured brown with mottled pale blue on shoulders. White tipped tail, rump and tail chestnut, barred black, central rump blue. Underparts and collar white. Massive bill, black above, yellowish below. Crown white with distinctive dark patch through eye. Call is a famed ‘laugh’, merry chuckling rising to raucous laughter with several birds often joining in. Family groups occupy the same territory year round.

Feeding Habits

Sits still on a perch watching, and then glides down to ground taking insects, reptiles and mammals. Sometimes robs nests of small birds and takes nestlings.

Breeding

August-January. The unlined nest is in a tree hollow. Can also be a tunnel in arboreal termite nest, two-to-four eggs. Both parents and others in family group incubate eggs and feed the young.

Places to Look

  • Open forest
  • Woodlands
  • Timbered watercourses
  • Parks
  • Gardens.

Threats

Loss of suitable nesting sites by clearing and urban spread.

Traditional Owners

The Laughing Kookaburra is known to Traditional Owners as the Bingunburra (pronounced Bin-Gun-Burra), and generally is known to mean Guardian. The Kookaburra is known as a guardian bird and travels as a protector.

References

NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

Laughing Kookaburra © Birdlife Townsville 2008

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