Australian Bush Birds
Laughing Kookaburra  -  Dacelo novaeguineae
Laughing Kookaburra with large, powerful beak and brown eyes.
map map The Laughing Kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae - is a large kingfisher, reaching 40 to 48 centimetres long. It has a massive bill, coloured black above and pale below and a broad, brown eye-stripe with a dark nape crescent. Large white head with brown spots and crown patch. Eye dark brown. Back and wings are brown with lighter edge on feathers; wings mottled pale blue. Tail barred rufous-brown and black, edged white. Plain white below. Males and females similar. Breeding males have a bright blue rump.

The Kookaburra is a terrestrial hunter which perches patiently on a vantage point then glides down to seize its prey. Eats snakes, lizards, mice and other small mammals, large insects, small birds and their nestlings. Inhabits open forest, woodlands, partly cleared farmlands, watercourse trees of semi-arid inland, cultivated parks and gardens. Frequently perches on telephone lines alongside country roads.

This is one of Australia's best known birds, famous for a call which begins as a merry chuckle, rises to raucous laughter then fades to a throaty chuckle. Calls are often heard from groups of birds; the Laughing Kookaburra lives in family groups of four to eight birds which co-ordinate their calls. Heard at any time of the day but most obvious at first light.

Kookaburra Kookaburra
The large bill is dark coloured above and light coloured below.
Laughing Kookaburra - page 2
Sedentary and common. Found in south west Western Australia, in south-eastern South Australia, all of Victoria and Tasmania and the eastern two-thirds of Queensland and New South Wales.

Typical Kookaburra pose on a low branch carefully watching the surroundings.