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Information for Laughing kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Coraciiformes > Alcedinidae > Dacelo > Dacelo novaeguineae

Laughing kookaburra
Dacelo novaeguineae

An iconic Australian bird with the one of the most distinctive calls of any Australian bird.


Laughing kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae close to the Daintree River in Lower Daintree - Photo by Alex Pawlow


Laughing Kookaburras are a large, solid kingfisher with a habit of stealing lunches. In built up areas, they will sit in trees in parks, and swoop down to pinch food from picnic tables.

Out in less populated areas they are a bit more self sufficient and feed mainly on small animals (lizards, frogs and insects). They will perch on a branch, watching for a meal, and swoop down the ground. They have even been known to take small snakes with their powerful bill.

Its range includes most of the east coast of Australia, on both sides of the Great Dividing Range.

Similar to Magpies, laughing Kookaburras have a territorial range that they protect and live in extended family groups, with the previous generation helping out with the new young. Their distinctive "laughing" call is usually a way of communicating / defending their territorial boundary.

They prefer openly wooded areas with a limited understory which suits their hunting style. This is part of the reason why they successfully live in urban areas around parks with regularly mowed grass.

They will nest in tree hollows, so areas with older trees that have developed these holes are good places to look for them.