Native to Australia and New Guinea, the kookaburra was named after its unique call, the sound of which is actually onomatopoeic with its name. Its call had been said to sound like human laughter, and there’s even a species known as the laughing kookaburra as a result.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Coraciiformes
Family - Alcedinidae
Subfamily - Halcyoninae
Genus – Dacelo
Species – D. novaeguineae
Common Names – Laughing Kookaburra, Great Brown Kingfisher, Laughing Kingfisher
You might not think it looking at this little bird, but it can let out quite a call! The laughing kookaburra is actually the largest member of the kingfisher family. Kingfishers are found throughout the world, but the four species of kookaburra are only found in Australia and New Guinea. The laughing kookaburra is a plump little bird with a large bill.
Kookaburras have an elaborate mating ritual involving their characteristic calls. The female bird will "beg" and make a call similar to that of an infant kookaburra, while the male presents her with a food offering and make his own call in response. It is speculated by some that this behavior is reversed at times, with the female bird offering the "begging" male her catch.
Kookaburras use their distinctive call to make other kookaburras aware of their territory. They perch on branches looking for food, which includes small mammals, lizards, insects, other birds, and even snakes.
Because of its distinctive call, sound clips of the kookaburra have been used in popular media outlets, including films, television shows, and jungle-themed theme park rides, to simulate “jungle” noises. Kookaburras are often very comfortable around humans, and can even be fairly easily coaxed to be fed by hand.
Laughing kookaburras are a species of "Least Concern" according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They are quite densely populated within their range and may number around 65 million birds. None of the species of kookaburra is currently in danger of immediate extinciton.