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Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra
Photo Information
Copyright: Murray Lines (mlines) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS400D, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-11 15:43
Viewed: 3175
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This much-loved bird of the Australian bush sits quietly in the gum trees about 30 metres away. Early in the morning they make a lot of noise, maybe checking all the family is awake, with their very characteristic laughter-like calls.

Dacelo novaeguineae

The Laughing Kookaburra is instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice. This large member of the kingfisher family measures 40 - 45 cm in length. It is generally off-white below, faintly barred with dark brown, and brown on the back and wings. The tail is more rufous, broadly barred with black. There is a conspicuous dark brown eye-stripe through the face.

The chuckling voice that gives this species its English name is a common and familiar sound throughout the bird's range. The loud 'koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa' is often sung in a chorus with other individuals. The Laughing Kookaburra also has a shorter 'koooaa', which is normally given when accompanied by other members of its family group.

Identification may only be confused where the Laughing Kookaburra's range overlaps that of the Blue-winged Kookaburra, D. leachii, in eastern Queensland. The call of the Blue-winged Kookaburra is coarser than that of the Laughing Kookaburra, and ends somewhat abruptly. The Blue-winged Kookaburra lacks the brown eye-stripe, has a blue tail and a large amount of blue in the wing, and has a pale eye.

Distribution and Habitat
The Laughing Kookaburra occurs throughout eastern Australia. It has also been introduced to Tasmania and the extreme south-west of Western Australia, as well as New Zealand. It inhabits most areas where there are suitable trees. In the central north and north-west of Australia it is replaced by the Blue-winged Kookaburra. The two overlap in range throughout Queensland, although the Blue-winged Kookaburra tends to occupy the coastal areas.

Food and feeding
Laughing Kookaburras feed mostly on insects, worms and crustaceans, although small snakes, mammals, frogs and birds may also be eaten. Prey is seized by pouncing from a suitable perch. Small prey is eaten whole, but larger prey is killed by bashing it against the ground or tree branch. Laughing Kookaburras often become quite tame around humans and will readily accept scraps of meat. This 'pre-processed' food is still beaten against a perch before swallowing.

Laughing Kookaburras breed from August to January. The birds are believed to pair for life. The nest is a bare chamber in a naturally occurring tree hollow or in a burrow excavated in an arboreal (tree-dwelling) termite mound. Both sexes share the incubation duties and both care for the young. Other Laughing Kookaburras, usualy offspring of the previous 1-2 years, act as 'helpers' during the breeding season. Every bird in the group shares all parenting duties.

Luis52, JoseMiguel, pierrefonds, Alex99, jhm has marked this note useful
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To JoseMiguel: Outsidemlines 1 03-11 23:16
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-11 15:54]

Hola Murray.
I like this little woodpeacker hiding in the tree. Great colors and sharpness.

  • Great 
  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-03-11 23:17]

Hi Murray, good shot of these two Australian icons. You've caught the light just right with it shining down over his face and putting the glint in his eye. He's given you a good diagonal pose down the length of the trunk. Great colour on the bird and tree.

Thanks, John

Hi Murray,
You did it very well to find the path to reach the bird among all that branches.
I like the candid pose got, like being discovered.
Well done and thanks for share.
My best regards,

Hi Murray,

A good capture of the laughing kookaburra in the tree, it is an impressive bird. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the bird which is well framed. The photo is clear and precise. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-12 7:38]

Hi Murray.
What a beauty you managed to catch at so natural environment It is looked pretty well. Very nice exposure, rich colours and impressive sunlight (and shadows). Excellent diagonal composition of the image too. My kind regards.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2008-03-12 10:57]

Hello Murray,

Very nice camouflage of this woodpeacker between the leaves.
Lovey how this wonderful bird works, but very difficult for take a good picture!
Very well done.


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