(Dacelo novaeguineae)

Length:  40-47 cm Common

The Laughing Kookaburra is a carnivorous sedentary bird that occupies diverse habitats including open forest, woodland, parks, and watercourse trees. It has a cream coloured body, the wings are brown with sky blue spots on the shoulders, and the upper surface of the very large bill is black.

The laughing call commences as merry chuckling, and rises to raucous laughter before fading to a slow throaty chuckle. It is heard most frequently shortly after dawn, and from sunset to dusk. The laughter serves to demarcate territorial borders as it does for a great many other bird calls.

One of the most extraordinary experiences of the Australian bush is to hear the laughter of a group of Kookaburras, and a rival tribe joining in. The picture shows the posture adopted by the bird when sounding its familiar call.

Kookaburras hunt by perching on a branch or wire, and wait patiently for prey to pass. Prey includes mice, large insects, lizards, snakes, small birds, and nestlings. Occasionally they will take venomous snakes much longer than their bodies. Kookaburras have grown accustomed to humans and may feed out of their hands. Nests are usually a hole in a tree trunk. No nesting material is used. Eggs 2 – 3 white.