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For the shovel-billed kookaburra, see Clytoceyx.
For other uses, see Kookaburra (disambiguation).

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Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers of the genus Dacelo 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. 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. Even though they belong to the larger group known as "kingfishers", kookaburras are not closely associated with 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 almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; 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 and will take meat from barbecues. It is generally not advised to feed kookaburras ground beef or pet food as these do not include enough calcium and roughage.[1]

They are territorial, except for the rufous-bellied, which often live with their young from the previous season.[2] They often sing as a chorus to mark their territory.

Three newly hatched kookaburra chicks


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 African, Asian and South American jungle settings. 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]

B.C.O.F. kookaburra stamp first issued in 1946.
  • A six pence stamp was issued in 1914.
  • A three pence commemorative Australian stamp was issued for the 1928 Melbourne International Philatelic Exhibition,
  • A six pence stamp issued in 1932.
  • A 38c Australian stamp issued in 1990 features a pair of kookaburras.[3]


An Australian coin known as the Silver Kookaburra minted annually since 1990.[4]


The Australian 12 metre yacht Kookaburra III lost the America's Cup in 1987.[5]


The Australian Men's Hockey team is named after the kookaburra. They are currently (as of 2014) world champions in field hockey.[6]


  1. ^ Giles, Jennie (1994). "Caring for Wild Birds in Captivity Series (Adelaide and Environs): Caring for Kookaburras" (PDF). Bird Care & Conservation Society South Australia Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Legge, Sarah (2004). Kookaburra: King of the Bush. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 978-0-643-09063-7. OCLC 223994691. 
  3. ^ Bird Stamps of Australia
  4. ^ "Australian Kookaburra". Silver Bullion World. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Maritime Topics On Stamps, America Cup, Sailing
  6. ^ Hockey Australia: Kookaburras

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kookaburra — Please support Wikipedia.
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Wed, 25 Nov 2015 01:00:00 -0800

The Kookaburra balls have been used exclusively by Australia since 1946. But Warne said a worrying number of changes midway through any given session was a good enough reason to opt for the Dukes. Warne's support of the Duke won't go unnoticed by ...

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Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:07:30 -0800

The Kookaburra silver coin depicts a single adult kookaburra perched on a tree stump. Surrounding the bird are eucalyptus leaves, a fern, and the inscriptions of THE AUSTRALIAN KOOKABURRA, 1 OZ. 999 SILVER, 1990-2015, and the mintmark of P25 ...

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Sat, 21 Nov 2015 01:56:15 -0800

Breaking his silence after the ball failure in Perth, Kookaburra Group managing director Brett Elliot went on the front foot to defend the embarrassing scenes. More than a dozen Kookaburra balls were used on the rock-hard batting road in Perth as ...
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:33:45 -0800

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Wed, 18 Nov 2015 01:54:48 -0800

Given the frequency at which the deteriorating balls became one of the major subjects of discussion during Australia's second Test at the WACA against New Zealand, Shane Warne has urged Cricket Australia (CA) to ditch the Kookaburra balls for English ...

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Sun, 15 Nov 2015 19:21:32 -0800

Kookaburra will investigate the cause of a dodgy batch of balls that has marred the second Test between Australia and New Zealand. The Australian opening batsman went onto say he feels that his teams bold approach helps them. Source: ONE News.

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Sat, 14 Nov 2015 03:40:03 -0800

Perth: The problems which saw the ball in the WACA Ground Test having to regularly be replaced reflect problems which have beset the Kookaburra-brand over the past year, Australian vice-captain David Warner said. Reserve umpire Mick Martell was ...

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Sat, 14 Nov 2015 09:20:10 -0800

Bangalore: The red SG Test cricket balls, which are being used for international and first-class matches in India, have again come under the scanner after premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin openly expressed his preference for the kookaburra balls.

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