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For the shovel-billed kookaburra, see Clytoceyx.
For other uses, see Kookaburra (disambiguation).
Dacelo novaeguineae waterworks.jpg
Laughing kookaburra in Tasmania, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Halcyonidae
Genus: Dacelo
Leach, 1815

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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.They have also been known to take goldfish from garden ponds. 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. Australian law protects native birds including kookaburras.

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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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449 news items

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:56:15 -0700

The laughing kookaburra is not an invention of Marion Sinclair, the music teacher from Melbourne, Australia , who wrote the iconic children's song in 1932. It is one of four species of real birds, two of which occur in Australia (the other is the blue ...

Science Network Western Australia

Science Network Western Australia
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 14:56:15 -0700

The researchers found the parasite in faecal samples of laughing kookaburra's (Dacelo novaeguineae) which reside at Kanyana and have suggested naming the species Caryospora daceloe after its host. Murdoch University molecular parasitologist ...
KFMB News 8
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:18:35 -0700

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's known for its unique call that resembles laughter. In this Zoo Day video, Lorena Walton tells us more about the kookaburra. Do you have information about this story to share with CBS News 8? Click Here ...


Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:11:56 -0700

Kookaburra Love played in the same program as Sleeping Giant that culminated with Single Stream, a short account of the internal rhythms, textures, and timbres of a waste-disposal facility. Toby Lee, Paweł Wojtasik, and Ernst Karel's directorial effort ...
TBO.com (blog)
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:30:00 -0700

It may not be the “dog days of summer” anymore, but if you have $10 you can make it the anteater days, the giraffe days, the gorilla days, even the kookaburra days for 10 dates in September at the zoo. Wednesday, Sept. 17 through Friday, Sept. 26 ...
Monash Weekly
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:26:15 -0700

The first record of the cake being cut up into little squares appears in the Kookaburra Cookery Book, produced by Adelaide's Lady Victoria Buxton Girls' Club in 1912. Like pre-slicing bread, this was the making of the lamington. It swiftly spread ...
Brisbane Times
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:52:30 -0700

An editorial decried "the wanton destruction of native birds and animals" by "uncivilised sportsmen": "The graceful thick-headed emu, the tuneful magpie, the mysterious platypus, the jolly old kookaburra, the gorgeous lyrebird cannot hold meetings and ...
The Daily Telegraph
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:08:33 -0700

WINNER: Kookaburra at Halls Gap, Victoria. Picture: Liam Hammersley. #SPOTTED - Rihanna Sails Italy. Tasmania, the people's choice. Can this sale save Malaysia Airlines? RETURN airfares to Europe starting from $1300 are the airline's latest fightback ...

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