Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

Species Information

Our two friendly kookaburras love to laugh at visitors and perch on keepers’ shoulders or heads for a walk!

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The laughing kookaburra is native to eastern mainland Australia, but has also been introduced to parts of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Western Australia.It occupies dry eucalyptus forest, woodland, city parks and gardens

The laughing kookaburra is a stout, stocky bird with a large head, prominent brown eyes, and a long and robust bill. The sexes are very similar, although the female is usually larger and has less blue to the rump than the male.

The carnivorous kookaburra prey upon invertebrates, but also small fish and vertebrates, including venomous snakes! The bold birds also sometimes attacks chickens and ducklings.

In both the wild and captivity, they can live up to 20 years.

Kookaburras sit, perch, and patiently wait on elevated items, such as trees, scanning the area for potential meals or threats. Once a prey item is spotted, they swoop down and grab the meal in their long beak. They stun and kill larger prey, such as snakes, by hitting them against hard objects. This also helps to soften the food into manageable portions to swallow.

Monogamous pairs lay two clutches of 2-4 eggs in a nest, usually located in a tree hole. The chicks are altricial, meaning they are underdeveloped when they hatch and so rely on their parents to bring them food. Once they have matured, young kookaburras will often remain with the parents and help raise the next year’s brood.

Least Concern

Kookaburra’s have been given the nickname of the ‘bushman’s clock’. This is because of their dawn and dusk laughing calls, which is actually a territorial call, warning other birds to stay away!