Saturday, November 22, 2008



Wiki Creative Commons image

Kookaburra, Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae.

Lots more kookaburras on the Peninsula lately. Maybe the La Nina was a good breeding season for them.

They are shy but live in the suburbs quite happily. The closest I've ever got to one was about 3 metres and that was prety unusual. Usually they get twitchy as soon as you look at them and then a few seconds later they're off.

They hang out in gum trees in gangs of three or four or half a dozen. As the sun gets low they give a few brief chuckles then they start up their chorus of full-on laughing. Other than the didgeridoo, you don't get a sound much more Straylyan.

MP3 of kookas laughing

(Device dear, you might consider the Blue-winged Kookaburra (D. leachii) as a replacement for Mrs Beaky as it specialises in maniacal cackling.

Kookaburra nest at Umina Beach

Kookaburra nest in a dead gum tree at Umina Beach. Can you see it?

Umina Beach

The entrance to the nest is the small dark hole in the brown section. (Hur hur.)

Kookaburra factoids

* Breeding males have blue bums, "Breeding male: Centre of rump bright blue" says the library book

* They are silent gliders when they come in to land in a tree or on a fence

* They land with their tails up then lower them slowly

* They sit on a branch and wait for the menu to wander past

* They eat meat, rats, small lizards and birds, large insects and snakes

* They are biggish compared to something like yer crow and come in 28-42 cm (11-17 inches in the old money)

* Families groups are 4 to 8 birds

* Teenage kookas often sit alone on a fence or in a tree

Kookaburra distribution map

Distributon map. Where kookas live in Australia. Red dot is Woy Woy.

Kookaburras in Powerhouse Collection

An old photo of kookas found on the Powerhouse's Flickr.

"General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at"

(The internets has made it possible for museum's to show off the shitloads of fabulous old photos they've have stashed away. I *heart* the internets.)

More kooka photos

Families that laugh together stick together

So whats for Lunch?

Head shot

Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree (pool of photos)

Wiki has heaps of good photos


michael said...

speaking of birds - is it just me or does there seem to be heaps more ducks around than normal? they're everywhere at the moment

pattie said...

Lovely photos
Thank you.
Tis my birthday tomorrow
so a lovely reminder of last years
on the coast......sigh.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Interesting birds. Nothing quite like them round here.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

Maniacal cackling would be a nice change from shrill screeching. I'll bear/bare (both look wrong) that in mind, Spike darling.
Mrs Beaky was waiting for me when I got home from work today - She loomed at me from behind the cherry tree. As if mornings weren't enough...

Spike said...

Michael, it's not just you. There's also heaps more insects and spiders and the bastards have been lurking in my washing.

Pattie, thank yer kindly.

Happy birthday!

Ron, do you get wild animals, apart from birds obvs, coming into town?

Device dear, two words. Water. Pistol. That'll learn her!

bear/bare (both look wrong)

Bear as in native bearers rather than bears and otters.

Neath said...

Very interesting birds.

Spike said...

Thank yer on their behalf. I love them.