kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

DID YOU KNOW?

No laughing matter—this bird is a fierce predator that can eat venomous snakes.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

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Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is Australia's national symbol. The kookaburra is a brown-colored bird, about the size of a crow. The male is easily distinguished from the female by the blue hues on his wing feathers and darker blue on his tail feathers. The female has a small bit of blue on her wing feathers, but no blue on her tail feathers.

The call of the kookaburra is commonly used in movies to imitate the sound of monkeys in a jungle.

Kookaburras live at home for the first four years of their life. During this time they take care of and provide food for any younger nestlings.

Diet

Kookaburras are carnivorous. They will eat insects, frogs, reptiles, birds, and rodents.

Size

The laughing kookaburra is approximately 18 inches in length, with a large head and a very large bill.

Range

The kookaburra is found throughout eastern Australia, and has been introduced into the southwest corner of Western Australia, Tasmania, Flinders Island, and Kangaroo Island. It was introduced into New Zealand between 1866 and 1880.

Population Status

Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable, and the species is not believed to be in decline.

Predators

A kookaburra's predators are wedge-tailed eagles, cats, brown goshawks, large owls, foxes, and grey butcher birds.

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A Note From the Caretaker

The AZA has a population management plan for kookaburras in the U.S., of which the National Aquarium is a participant.