Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra



COMMON NAME: laughing kookaburra, kookaburra
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
ORDER: Coraciiformes
FAMILY: Alcedinidae
GENUS SPECIES: Dacelo (an anagram of alcedo - a kingfisher ) novaeguineae (from New Guinea)


DESCRIPTION: The laughing kookaburra is the largest of the kingfishers. It has a large bill that has a black upper mandible (top beak), and a tan lower mandible. The laughing kookaburra also has a white belly, a whitish head, brown wings, a brown back and dark brown eye-stripes.
SIZE: Up to 45 cm (18 in.) in length
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Carnivorous; eats insects, amphibians, small reptiles, and crabs
INCUBATION: Approximately 20-22 days
CLUTCH SIZE 2-3 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 12 months
LIFE SPAN: Averages 15 years
RANGE: Eastern Australia and Tasmania
HABITAT: Primarily forests
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. The laughing kookaburra got its common name from the loud territorial sound that it makes. The calls are often mistaken for many different animals, such as donkeys or monkeys.
2. In many of the old Tarzan movies, the jungle sounds were often recordings of the laughing kookaburra call, which lives nowhere near Africa.
3. Laughing kookaburras are the largest member of the kingfisher family. Members of the kingfisher family are found all over the world and are some of the only bird species known to be able to hover.
4. Laughing kookaburras have a complex social structure. A pair may remain in a semi-monogamous relationship with helpers to assist with the care of the young. These helpers may be young from a previous mating who are learning parental care while helping their parents, or they could also be an unrelated pair who is waiting for a shot at the territory.


Laughing kookaburras are fairly adaptable in their habitat but they do require forest areas for finding food and nesting. They benefit from living within Australia, a country that has some of the strictest animal control laws in the world. The habitats, however, are not as strongly protected as the animals.

As small carnivores, kookaburras play an integral role in the ecosystem by controlling small animal populations.


Gotch, A.F. Birds: Their Latin Names Explained. Poole: Blandford Press, 1981.

Gotch, A.F. Birds: Their Latin Names Explained. Poole: Blandford Press, 1981.

Macdonald, J.D. Birds of Australia. Sydney: A.H. & A.W. Reed PTY Ltd., 1973.

Perrins, C. M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990.