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SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Dacelo novaeguineae
Male "Cash" Female "Goose"

HABITAT:  Eastern and southwestern Australia, introduce to Tasmania and New Zealand


FUN FACT:  The kookaburra’s call is one of the most familiar sounds of the Australian bush.  It is heard most often at dawn and dusk, when groups announce themselves with loud, laughing choruses.  The call is composed of five different elements, which individuals mix and repeat to form their own sequences, usually with a loud repeated “Hahaha” in the middle.

DIET:  Small prey such as earthworms, snails, crabs, crayfish, insects or other arthropods, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, and occasionally nestling birds or small mammals.  They kill snakes up to one meter (3.3 feet) long by gripping them behind the head and beating them on the ground or on a perch, sometimes dropping them from a height to stun them first.  They also take scraps at picnic areas (right off the Bar-B-Q), and have been seen stealing prey from hawks or snakes.  Undigested food is regurgitated as a pellet.

DESCRIPTION: The laughing kookaburra is the world’s largest kingfisher.  It is 15 ½ - 16 ½ inches in length with a long, straight beak and short legs.  The head is white with a dark brown crown and eyeband, and there is a dark patch on the nape.  The upperparts are dark brown and the underparts are white.  There is a small blue patch on the rump, and some wing feathers have bluish-white tips.  The tail is banded with black.  The upper mandible of the beak is brown-black, and the lower mandible is ivory-colored.  The legs are pale green to gray.  Females are larger than males, and have less blue on the rump.  Juveniles are darker and more barred than adults. 


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