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Laughing Kookaburra in Tasmania, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Halcyonidae
Genus: Dacelo
Leach, 1815

Kookaburras (genus Dacelo) are terrestrial tree kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea, which grow to between 28–42 cm (11–17 in) in length. The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. The single member of the genus Clytoceyx is commonly referred to as the Shovel-billed Kookaburra.

The kookaburra's loud call sounds like echoing human laughter. Kookaburras are not closely associated with water. They are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water.[citation needed]

Classification and species[edit]

Four species of kookaburra can be found in Australia, New Guinea, and the Aru Islands.

Kookaburras are sexually dimorphic. This is noticeable in the Blue-winged and the Rufous-bellied, where males have blue tails and females have reddish-brown tails.

Unusually for close relatives, the Laughing and Blue-winged species are direct competitors in the area where their ranges now overlap.[citation needed] This suggests that these two species evolved in isolation (possibly during a period when Australia and New Guinea were more distant – see Australia-New Guinea).


Kookaburras are carnivorous. Kookaburras are known to eat the young of other birds, mice, snakes, insects and small reptiles. In zoos they are usually fed food for birds of prey.

The most social birds will accept handouts from humans and will take meat from barbecues. It is generally not advised to feed kookaburras meat regularly as it does not include calcium and other nutrients essential to the bird. Remainders of mince on the bird's beak can fester and cause problems.[citation needed]

They are territorial, except for the Rufous-bellied, which often live with their young from the previous season.[1] They often sing as a chorus to mark their territory.

Three newly hatched Laughing Kookaburra chicks
An albino kookaburra


All kookaburra species are listed as Least Concern.

In culture[edit]

Olly the Kookaburra was one of the three mascots chosen for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The other mascots were Millie the Echidna and Syd the Platypus.

The distinctive sound of the Laughing Kookaburra's call is used in filmmaking and television productions, as well as certain Disney theme park attractions, regardless of where in the world the action is set. Kookaburras have also appeared in video games (Lineage II, Battletoads, and World of Warcraft) and at least in one short story (Barry Wood's Nowhere to Go).

In William Arden's 1969 book, The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, (one of 'The Three Investigators' series for young readers), the Laughing Kookaburra is integral to the plot.

The children's television series Splatalot! includes an Australian character called "Kookaburra" (or "Kook"), whose costume includes decorative wings that recall the bird's plumage, and who is noted for his distinctive high-pitched laugh.


BFD Records and BFD Productions, which are the distributors and/or copyright holders of most of the garage rock and psychedelic rock compilation albums in the Pebbles (series), have the address Kookaburra, Australia.

Postage stamps[edit]

A Laughing Kookaburra with a frog in its beak in Sydney, Australia
Laughing Kookaburra with barbecue meat scraps
  • A 6d (6 penny) stamp was issued in 1914.
  • The 2nd commemorative Australian stamp to be issued was the 3d blue Kookaburra. The stamp, produced in sheets of four for the 1928 Melbourne International Philatelic Exhibition, was the fourth miniature sheet to be manufactured in the world.
  • A 38c Australian stamp issued around 1990 features a pair of kookaburras.[2]


An Australian coin known as the Silver Kookaburra minted annually since 1990.[3]


The Australian 12 metre yacht Kookaburra III lost the America's Cup in 1987.[4]


The Australian Men's Hockey team is named after the Kookaburra. They are currently (as of 2010) world champions in field hockey.[5]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kookaburra — Please support Wikipedia.
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320 news items

Coin Update News

Coin Update News
Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:33:45 -0700

The Perth Mint has launched the 2014 Australian Kookaburra High Relief Silver Proof Coin. This limited mintage offering is struck in high relief on concave surfaces for a stunning display of the original artistry. Kookaburras are terrestrial tree ...
The Daily Telegraph
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 22:15:00 -0700

The motorists was travelling from Woodenbong to Ballina when she thought she had narrowly missed hitting a kookaburra at Old Grevillia. When she arrived at her destination, 1.5 hours and 100km later, she was horrified to find the bird spread across the ...

Silver Coins Today (blog)

Silver Coins Today (blog)
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:00:00 -0700

The 2014 Australian Kookaburra High Relief Silver Coin is now available from the Perth Mint of Australia. 2014 Australian Kookaburra High Relief Silver Coin. [Shown: Image of the 2014 Australian Kookaburra High Relief Silver Coin]. Each is composed of ...
Hindustan Times
Sun, 20 Apr 2014 12:15:14 -0700

Kookaburra Turf, the white ball which is being used in the tournament, is turning out to be too expensive for some teams. These imported balls are priced at Rs. 13,000 apiece and the teams have had to invest close to Rs. 15 lakh buying them. On an ...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:18:45 -0700

Hochman joins an elite list of Territory players to have won a national player of the tournament award, including current Hockeyroo Brooke Peris and former Kookaburra Abbott. Peris won her award in the under-18s while Abbott won a national player of ...
Busselton Dunsborough Mail
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:03:35 -0700

A FOCUS brand mountain bike which was leaning on a caravan at Kookaburra Caravan Park in Busselton was stolen. The theft occurred at 11pm on April 20 and the bike is described as black and silver in colour. GEOGRAPHE Primary School was damaged ...
The Border Mail
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:21:50 -0700

It was found alight near Kookaburra Point at about 12.30am yesterday. Albury police said the vehicle's owner didn't know it was missing until he was notified by police. Firefighters from the Wodonga CFA were called to the incident. Police from Albury ...


Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:31:48 -0700

The Tasmanian former Kookaburra is in no doubt as to the reason for the English demise. "The growing success of the Belgians - all three of whose teams reached the last eight and two the semi-finals - over the past few years at both club and national ...

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