Laughing Kookaburra

(Dacelo novaeguineae)


Laughing Kookaburra IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The laughing kookaburra is one of the largest kingfishers, reaching a total length of 46 cm. The bill is massive, black above and horn-coloured below. The iris is brown, the legs and feet are greenish-grey. The colour of the head is off-white with a dark streak on the crown and a dark line through the eye. The back is dark brown, the wings brown with blue markings, the tail brown and black barred with a white tip. The underparts are off-white.

The kookaburra's voice is a loud chuckling laugh.

The kookaburra is a sedentary species. that lives in family groups. Its habitat are forest edges and clearings, and savanna woodland. The birds nest in tree hollows orarboreal termites' mounds.

The diet of the kookaburra consists of a large variety of vertebrate and invertebrate prey items including snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, birds, and insects. The majority of the food acquired is caught from the ground with a small amount being taken from shallow waters.

Did you know?
that the most famous feature of the kookaburra is its loud, boisterous "laugh", a repeated "kook-kook-kook-ka-ka-ka" call that rises and falls in volume as family members join in to form a raucous chorus, and that an aboriginal legend says the kookaburra's call is a signal to the sky people to start the daily fire that lights the earth? Often heard at dawn in the bush, this call has provided the Laughing Kookaburra with another one of its colorful nicknames, "the Bushman's Clock."


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Dacelo novaeguineae
Name (English) Laughing Kookaburra
Name (French) Martin-chasseur géant
Name (German) Lachender Hans
Name (Spanish) Cucaburra común
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Australia, New Zealand
Habitat In medium to dense woodland areas
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population 472 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Laughing Kookaburra


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11F of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Leon Wilson

Why do zoos keep this animal

The kookaburra is a characteristic species and its laugh is one of the best-known sounds of the Australian countryside. It is therefore primarily kept for educational reasons to convey, along with other typical species such as brush turkey, cockatoos, parakeets and wallabies, an impression of the Australian "outback".