Perhaps the best known of all Australian Birds, the Kookaburra is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family. Native to eastern Australia, it has also been introduced to parts of New Zealand, Tasmania and Western Australia. Male and female adults are similar in plumage, which is predominantly brown and white.
The is a stocky bird of about 45 cm (18 in) in length, with a large head, a prominent brown eye, and a very large bill. The sexes are very similar, although the female averages larger and has less blue to the rump than the male. They have a white or cream-
The name "Laughing Kookaburra" refers to the bird's "laugh", which it uses to establish territory amongst family groups. It can be heard at any time of day, but most frequently shortly after dawn and after sunset to dusk.
One bird starts with a low, hiccuping chuckle, then throws its head back in raucous laughter: often several others join in. If a rival tribe is within earshot and replies, the whole family soon gathers to fill the bush with ringing laughter. Hearing kookaburras in full voice is one of the more extraordinary experiences of the Australian bush, something even locals cannot ignore; some visitors, unless forewarned, may find their call startling.
Kookaburras occupy woodland territories (including forests) in loose family groups, and their laughter serves the same purpose as a great many other bird calls—to demarcate territorial borders. Most species of Kookaburra tend to live in family units, with offspring helping the parents hunt and care for the next generation of offspring.
Kookaburras hunt much as other kingfishers do by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by. Common prey include mice and similar-
During mating season, the Kookaburra reputedly indulges in behaviour similar to that of a Wattle Bird. The female adopts a begging posture and vocalises like a young bird. They start breeding around October/November. If the first clutch fails, they will continue breeding into the summer months.
They generally lay three eggs at about 2-
Kookaburras are a common sight in suburban gardens and urban settings, even in built-