Kookaburra Information

A pair of Kookaburras sitting in the old gum tree


Kookaburras are only found in Australia.

They are members of the Kingfisher family

There are 2 types:

The Laughing Kookaburra.........which is mostly found in the bushlands of Eastern Australia

The Blue-Winged Kookaburra.... found in Mangrove swamps in the North of Australia


Kookaburras live in family groups , together they look after their bush territory , defending it from all other birds . The family often sit together on a tree branch and when they need to chase away trespassers they do so by criss-crossing over each other in flight

The Kookaburras nest is usually made in the hollow of a tree with a large opening at the front...if the hole is too small it will often peck it out with its large strong beak to make it big enough.

An adult female Kookaburra will lay between 1-6 blue/green blotched eggs in a season with an average of 4 eggs to a nest...... The eggs are kept warm for 25 days before they hatch. When the chicks emerge from their shells they are fed by both mother and father .The chicks are fed for about a month before they can fly and another month before they can care for themselves... There are very strong family bonds in the Kookaburra family , often older brothers and sisters help out with caring for the chicks .....

Young Kookaburras stay with their parents for 4 years.

The Kookaburra has a varied diet , its favourite foods are Lizards and Snakes but it also enjoys Insects , Earthworms , Fish , Frogs and Toads , Mice , Rats and other rodents.......

Kookaburras have keen eyesight and are fierce hunters , when they catch their prey they will beat it against a log or rock to kill , then pound it with their beak to soften the meat making it easier to eat. The Kookaburra eats its prey whole sometimes having to rest for lengths of time waiting for the first half of the animal to be digested so the 2nd half can be swallowed..... The Kookaburra will regurgitate food and store it in the nest for future meals.

Although it is discouraged in the interests of health , some Kookaburras become quite tame and will accept food from humans things such as raw meat and cheese .

 Laughing Kookaburra

The Laughing Kookaburra

Also known as the Laughing Jackass , is the largest member of the Kingfisher family and the only Kingfisher with the distinctive laugh .... Early in the morning , just before dawn ,and in the late afternoon , at sunset , is when the Laughing Kookaburra can be heard to sing the loudest . Usually the whole family laughs together , they are telling other Kookaburras , "This is our territory . Stay away !" It is thought they have about 6 different calls , each one signalling something different to the family or to intruders . Unlike its cousin the Blue-Winged Kookaburra the Laughing Kookaburra rarely hunts over water prefering to take its prey from the land.

One Aboriginal name for the Laughing Kookaburra is ....Cuck'unda

It is mostly coloured brown with some black barring on its wing and tail feathers and the fluffy head and chest are whitey/grey colour , a small amount of bright blue can be seen on its wings.

 Blue Winged kookaburra

The Blue-Winged Kookaburra

While still a large bird is smaller than its cousin the Laughing Kookaburra..... It lives in the Mangrove swamps of Northern Australia and has a preference for aquatic food such as fish , freshwater crayfish , frogs , waterworms and small crabs. The Blue-winged Kookaburra has a call which sounds like a barking cough and like its cousin welcomes the sun in the morning but with a call which sounds a little like 'Ow Ow Ow'...... The head and chest are fluffy and covered with light coloured feathers , the rump and wings are coloured bright blue and it has some brown feathers above its dark blue tail .

One Aboriginal name for the Blue-Winged Kookaburra is Pooka

Back to Kookaburra theme index