Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

About This Animal

SIZE: 15 to 18 inches

RANGE: Native to the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia

HABITAT: They are found in humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water

DIET: They eat small rodents, large insects, lizards, snakes, and small birds.

ON EXHIBIT: Extraordinary Experience bird program

The laughing kookaburra is a large, noisy bird from forests on the islands of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Its loud, distinctive call sounds like human laughter. Their call was often used in the background of old jungle films and television (think Tarzan) and mistaken for a primate vocalization. They carry the nickname “Bushman’s alarm clock” since they vocalize early in the morning. 

Even though they belong to the larger group known as kingfishers, kookaburras are not closely associated with water. Kookaburras live in family groups and have a life span of about 20 years. After catching prey, the kookaburra pounds it against a tree branch or rock, probably in order to tenderize the meat. The kookaburra doesn't drink any water; it gets enough water from the food it eats.