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Laughing kookaburra

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The laughing kookaburra is the largest member of the kingfisher family and is native to the woodlands of Australia.

Known as the “bushman’s alarm clock” because of its loud call, a laughing kookaburra vocalises in its family group at dawn and dusk. The call sounds like a variety of trills, chortles, belly laughs, and hoots. But don’t be fooled—the kookaburra isn’t really laughing. Its famous cackle is actually a territorial call, warning other birds to stay away.

Although they are kingfishers, laughing kookaburras eat more insects, reptiles, frogs, and rodents than fish. These birds are especially famous for their snake-hunting skills. They can kill snakes up to 3 feet long by grabbing them behind the head and smacking them on the ground. Parent kookaburras often give small snakes to their chicks to help them learn how to kill prey.

Conservation status | Least concern

Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Dacelo novaeguineae






10 years in the wild, 15 years in captivity

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