Kookaburras (click on the kookaburra to hear the sound they make outside our classroom)

The kookaburra's scientific name is Dacelo novaeguineae. It is also known as the laughing kookaburra because its call sounds like laughter. The kookaburra is sometimes referred to as the Great Brown Kingfisher.

Kookaburras grow to be about 45cms in length. They have a square head and a dagger like beak. Kookaburras have mainly brown plumage and a gray and white underside. They also have dark bands on their tail feathers. 

The kookaburra is found all along the East Coast of Australia, most of Tasmania and in Southern Western Australia. They live in wooded areas, open forests and urban areas. Kookaburras are generally peaceful but are also territorial. Kookaburras are carnivores. Their diet consists of: mice, rats, frogs, snakes, lizards, worms, snails, insects and small birds. They kill their prey by hitting it against a tree or the ground.

The kookaburra has complex nesting habits. They usually nest about 10 metres off the ground in hollow trees. The young are raised by groups of three or four adults. These groups consist of a breeding pair and helpers. The helpers are generally male, they assist with nesting duties, defending territory and rearing of siblings.

Kookaburras establish which male birds have the right to mate by sparring. In a spar two males lock beaks and try to twist each other off the perch to establish dominance.

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