• Kookaburra

    Category: Birds

    Native to Australia and New Guinea, the kookaburra was named after its unique call, the sound of which is actually onomatopoeic with its name. Its call had been said to sound like human laughter, and there’s even a species known as the laughing kookaburra as a result.

    Kookaburra

    Kookaburra

    Scientific & Common Names

    Kingdom - Animalia

    Phylum - Chordata

    Class - Aves

    Order - Coraciiformes

    Family - Alcedinidae

    Subfamily - Halcyoninae

    Genus – Dacelo

    Species – D. novaeguineae

    Common Names – Laughing Kookaburra, Great Brown Kingfisher, Laughing Kingfisher

    Characteristics

    You might not think it looking at this little bird, but it can let out quite a call! The laughing kookaburra is actually the largest member of the kingfisher family. Kingfishers are found throughout the world, but the four species of kookaburra are only found in Australia and New Guinea. The laughing kookaburra is a plump little bird with a large bill.

    Breeding

    Kookaburras have an elaborate mating ritual involving their characteristic calls. The female bird will "beg" and make a call similar to that of an infant kookaburra, while the male presents her with a food offering and make his own call in response. It is speculated by some that this behavior is reversed at times, with the female bird offering the "begging" male her catch.

    Behavior

    Kookaburras use their distinctive call to make other kookaburras aware of their territory. They perch on branches looking for food, which includes small mammals, lizards, insects, other birds, and even snakes.

    History

    Because of its distinctive call, sound clips of the kookaburra have been used in popular media outlets, including films, television shows, and jungle-themed theme park rides, to simulate “jungle” noises. Kookaburras are often very comfortable around humans, and can even be fairly easily coaxed to be fed by hand.

    Present Status

    Laughing kookaburras are a species of "Least Concern" according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They are quite densely populated within their range and may number around 65 million birds. None of the species of kookaburra is currently in danger of immediate extinciton.

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