Aussie Week: A National Symbol Is So Cute, It's Laughable

Published January 21, 2014

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we'll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long! 

Day Two: Meet the Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is Australia's national symbol. One of four known species of kookaburra, it is the only species that is recognized for its laugh-like call. Laughing kookaburras make a variety of call sounds, which are used for everything from courtship to marking territory.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

FUN FACT: The call of the kookaburra is commonly used in movies to imitate the sound of monkeys in a jungle!

The kookaburra is a brown-colored bird, about the size of a crow, easily recognized by its very large bill. Males can be distinguished from females by the blue hues on their wing feathers and the darker blue on their tail feathers. Females have a small bit of blue on their wing feathers, but no blue on their tail feathers.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

Laughing kookaburras are found throughout the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, the southwest corner of Western Australia, Tasmania, Flinders Island and Kangaroo Island.

These birds are the largest members of the kingfisher family. Contrary to what their family name suggests, laughing kookaburras rarely eat fish! Instead, they prefer to feed on insects, frogs, birds, rodents and reptiles.

The laughing kookaburra has been the subject of many Aboriginal legends over the years. Many tribes believed that the bird's early morning call was a signal to the sky gods to once again illuminate and warm the Earth.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

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