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Alternative Titles: Dacelo gigas, bushman’s clock, laughing jackass, laughing kookaburra

Kookaburra , also called laughing kookaburra or laughing jackass , (species Dacelo novaeguineae ), eastern Australian of the kingfisher family (Alcedinidae), whose call sounds like fiendish laughter. This gray-brown, woodland-dwelling bird reaches a length of 43 cm (17 inches), with an 8- to 10-cm (3.2- to 4-inch) beak. In its native habitat it eats invertebrates and small vertebrates, including venomous snakes. In western Australia and New Zealand , where it has been introduced, the kookaburra has been known to attack chickens and ducklings. Defending their territory year-round, a monogamous pair of these birds lays two clutches of two to four white eggs in its nest in a tree hole. The young often remain with the parents and help raise the next year’s brood.

Kookaburra laughing kookaburra laughing jackass

Also sometimes called the “bushman’s clock,” the kookaburra is heard very early in the morning and just after sunset. The related blue-winged kookaburra ( D. leachii ), which does not “laugh,” is found across northern Australia .

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

…of all kingfishers is the kookaburra, known throughout Australia for its laughing call. The kookaburra’s white head has a brown eye stripe, the back and wings are dark brown, and the underparts are white. Often found in urban and suburban areas, it can become quite tame and may be fed…
Australia, the smallest continent and one of the largest countries on Earth, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia’s capital is Canberra, located in the southeast between the larger and more important economic and cultural centres of Sydney and Melbourne.…
Australian federal election of 2010
Less than a month after becoming Australia’s first woman prime minister, Julia Gillard of the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP) called an election for August 21, eight months earlier than was constitutionally required, hoping to capitalize on a surge in support for the ALP following her rise…
Kingfisher, any of about 90 species of birds in three families (Alcedinidae, Halcyonidae, and Cerylidae), noted for their spectacular dives into water. They are worldwide in distribution but are chiefly tropical. Kingfishers, ranging in length from 10 to 42 cm (4 to 16.5 inches), have a large head,…
Coraciiform, (order Coraciiformes), any member of an order made up of 10 families of birds that include the kingfishers, todies, motmots, bee-eaters, rollers, hoopoes, and hornbills. Among the members of the order that have attracted special attention are certain kingfishers that plunge headfirst…
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