Laughing Kookaburra

(Dacelo novaeguineae)


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.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the laughing kookaburra! Did you know that this bird is a fierce predator that can eat venomous snakes?

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.

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

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

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

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

Meet the Expert Ken Howell

As the curator of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest, Amazon River Forest and Australia: Wild Extremes exhibits, Ken starts his day early, walking through each exhibit.

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