You are here

Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
They are native to Eastern Mainland Australia but have been introduced to Tasmania, New Zealand, and Western Australia.
Dry eucalyptus forests

Kookaburras are the largest species of kingfisher, but they tend to eat land animals instead of fish. Kookaburras sit perfectly still and watch for prey animals to walk by. They eat lizards, insects, worms, snakes, and small mammals like rodents. They can keep their head perfectly still while their body moves with a branch. After catching their food, the kookaburra bashes it onto their perch to make sure its bones are broken for easier swallowing. 

They are called Laughing Kookaburras because their territorial call sounds like a laugh, a rolling “Gu-gu-gu-gu-ba-ba-ba”.  In fact, the name Kookaburra is a translation of the native name for the species, “Guuguubarra”.  This sound is often used in jungle movies and attributed to monkeys, but it’s really an Australian bird.

Kookaburras are monogamous and maintain a territory year-round with a dominant female and several helper females from her previous offspring.  They nest inside trees. Courtship starts with a male feeding the dominant female.  She lays 2-3 eggs, and the nest may have an additional 2-3 eggs from helper females. The first egg laid in a clutch is usually male, the second is usually female. Eggs hatch after 24-29 days. Chicks fledge in 33 to 39 days after that.