Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra perched on a branchWhat does it look like? Instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice. The chuckling “koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa” is a familiar sound throughout its range. It also has a shorter “koooaa”.  The chuckling call is a prominent and raucous part of the dawn chorus.  In outback areas this early morning wake-up call gave the bird the nicknames of Bushman’s Clock, Alarm Bird and Breakfast Bird.

Where does it live? It occurs throughout eastern Australia and the extreme south-west of WA. In the central north and north-west of Australia it is replaced by the Blue-winged Kookaburra. The two do overlap in range in Qld, although the latter tends to occupy the more coastal areas.

What are its habitats and habits? The Laughing Kookaburra inhabits most areas where there are suitable trees, where it feeds on a variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates. Small prey is normally swallowed quickly, but larger prey is killed by bashing it against the ground or tree branch before eating.

Interesting fact: The Laughing Kookaburra is the New South Wales bird emblem.  

Scientific name: Dacelo novaeguineae

Size: 40 to 45 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store