February 25th, 2018

The Kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae

The Kookaburra is a very unique bird as far as things go. They are a member of the kingfisher family, however, they have adapted to live on land over many thousands of years. Australia has a few species of kookaburra too, all with the long kingfisher beak and a similar call. They are considered birds of prey, and eat many varieties of insects, small lizards, rodents, and small snakes.

Australian wildlife is known for being novel, and also unique. The kookaburra in particular, is no exception, having a bird call which is more of a hysterical laugh. You never know when or where you will be, when a group of kookaburras will unleash a huge laughing fit that can last well beyond a few minutes. I can remember teaching many science classes in NSW that were regularly interupted by these birds sending the kids into a laughing fit, as there was nothing we could do to contain the laughter of all involved. Before leaving home, I set up a water pond to attract birds, to make sure I could photograph one of my favourite birds: Before moving interstate.

Overall this bird is a cultural icon of Australia. The noise it makes is an instant and unique marker of Australian films. The image of the eastern kookaburra can be found right next to that of the koala and wombat. Seen in backyards right across Australia, the kookaburra is a welcome but sometimes very noisy neighbour.