Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Featured in Your Country’s Best
The largest Australian kingfisher, the kookaburra has a massive bill, a brown stripe through the eyes and over the crown, off-white head and underparts. It is mottled light blue on the wings and has brown bars on the tail. Its size is to 47cm.
Family members live in the same territory year-round and reinforce the boundaries at the beginning of the breeding season, calling together and awaiting the response of neighbours. Young stay with their parents for up to 4 years helping to the offspring. They hunt from a perch, staring at the ground and fluttering down to catch prey.
They breed from September to January and lay 1-4 eggs in a nest in a tree hollow or termite mound. The female and family helpers incubate the eggs and care for the young who fledge in about 5 weeks.
Their call is raucous laughing and their diet consists of reptiles, rodents, birds, insects and other invertebrates.
They inhabit Sclerophyll forests, woodlands and parks.
The Kookaburra is a great Australian icon!