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Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

Henry Vilas Zoo Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra has a distinctly large square head with brown cheek patches on its face. Male and females, as well as their offspring, are identical in physical appearance. The laughing kookaburra is well-known for its unique song that sounds awfully similar to a human laugh. It is a yearlong song and it is especially present during the few months before the breeding season.

Habitat: The kookaburra is found in eastern and southern Australia and have also been found in Tasmania. They live in dense woodland areas that are typically wet and cold.

Diet: The Kookaburra can be described as insectivorous as well as carnivorous. It eats primarily snakes, large lizards, worms, snails, insects, freshwater crayfish, frogs, small birds, and rodents.

Family Life: They are a very territorial bird and occupy the same area all year long. They nest usually 30 feet high in the air. The laughing kookaburra congregates in groups of three or more, which consists of the breeding pair and helpers. The helpers assist in nesting duties and help protect the breeding pair’s territory. The breeding pair is the most dominant with the oldest member of the group following behind.

Henry Vilas Zoo Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra’s endangered status is classified as least concern.

Henry Vilas Zoo Least Concern Graphic
Henry Vilas Zoo Laughing Kookaburra
  • The laughing kookaburra, one of Australia’s most iconic birds, faces several natural threats with feral cats and foxes being the likely predators.
  • Habitat loss is a major threat kookaburras face, as development in their native habitats has interfered with population growth. Australia’s environmental teams have been committed to helping the kookaburra and other species return to sustainable population levels.
Henry Vilas Zoo Laughing Kookaburra
Fun Facts
  • They are peaceful birds, yet they can act in aggressive ways by ‘sparring’, which is the act of two birds grasping their bills and twisting until one bird has been thrown off the perch.
  • What’s so funny? The Kookaburra has a unique song that is commonly related to a full boisterous human laugh. It is a communal laugh and can usually be heard in the early morning.
Henry Vilas Zoo Laughing Kookaburra
Quick Facts

CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Coraciiformes (kingfishers and relatives)
FAMILY: Alcedinidae (kingfishers)
GENUS: Dacelo (kookaburra)
SPECIES: Dacelo novaeguineae (laughing kookaburra)
LIFE SPAN: 11 – 15 years (wild) / 15 – 20 years (zoo)
SIZE: ~18 inches (45 cm)
WEIGHT: ~1 pound (.45 kg)

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