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Australian Native Wildlife – Kookaburra

October 28th 2011 02:18
laughing kookaburra Australian birds of prey
The call of the kookaburra, which sounds like raucous laughter, is synonymous with the Australian bush. The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaguineae) inhabits eastern Australia from Cape York to south eastern South Australia, and has been introduced to Tasmania and Western Australia.

Kookaburras are from the kingfisher family, and are the world’s largest Kingfisher. They mainly prey on terrestrial creatures such as insects, small mammals, frogs, snakes and lizards. It is not unusual to see one perched in a tree with a small snake in its beak, whacking it against a branch to kill it.
kookaburra Australian native wildlife predatory birds

The laughing kookaburra attains a length of 45 centimetres. The breast and head is white with dark brown lines through the eyes and over the crown. The wings and shoulders are brown and may be tipped with light blue, and the tail is barred dark brown. There is little sexual dimorphism between genders but males can sometimes be distinguished by a bluish rump.

Kookaburras are as well adapted to suburbia as native eucalypt forests, sitting patiently, scanning for prey. They breed from September to January, nesting in tree hollows.

There is a second species of kookaburra in Australia, the Blue Winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii). It is smaller with more vivid blue markings. Its range extends from subtropical Queensland across the north Australian tropics as well as Papua New Guinea. It nests in tree hollows and termite mounds
native Australian birds of prey kookaburra

Kookaburra hens and cocks share in the nesting duties. Young kookaburras stay with their parents for two or three years, assisting in the raising of younger siblings, gaining experience for rearing their own offspring.

The 1934 song 'Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’ has become an Australian colonial classic, with various schoolyard versions circulating for decades. In 2009 the copyright holders sued the Australian band Men At Work for plagiarism, claiming their 1981 song ‘Down Under’ used a flute riff from the 1934 song.

Laughing kookaburra call courtesy of Fred Van Gessel

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4 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by katyzzz

October 28th 2011 03:43
A truly delightful post, I never fail to experience a thrill whenever I am fortunate to see a kookaburra up close, especially when they experience no fear and just sit there while I appraise them. I love Australian birds. Thanks Glen

Comment by Lovetrucker

October 28th 2011 08:44
You often see the Kookaburra on a branch or fence post, with its head cocked at an angle as though it is looking for prey on the ground. But its hearing is so acute that it is actually listening for insects chewing underground-it then swoops down to pluck them out.

Comment by katyzzz

October 30th 2011 21:00
No that's a Lyre Bird, more common elsewhere

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