Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

The sound of the Laughing Kookaburra must rank as one of most characteristic noises of Australia. Widespread and common in eastern Australia, this Kingfisher has been introduced to Perth, WA .

In northern Queensland it overlaps with the closely related Blue-winged Kookaburra. Territories of the two species do not overlap, so close are their requirements. Kookaburras live in extended family groups, with previous year(s) young adults helping to take care of the young. The famous call is made simultaneously by members of the ‘clan’ to proclaim ownership over a territory. Made especially in early morning and at dusk, there is often no excuse for staying asleep when camping in kookaburra infested areas!

Kookaburras are pounce predators and feed on large insects, mice, reptiles, even decent sized snakes, caught on the ground. In picnic areas, campsites and the like the diet often includes sausages, steak and anything else stolen from BBQs, off plates etc. Many have a clever double act worked out – you watch the bird you can see but are surprised by another hidden bird which comes in for the attack from a different direction, they both then share the spoils! All food, even a bit of scavenged tomato fallen from a sandwich, is ‘killed’ in typical kingfisher style. A characterful bird!