Fun Kookaburra Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Kookaburra facts such as different species of kookaburras are native to Australia and New Zealand are interesting.

Kookaburras belong to the Australian kingfisher family. There are four species of tree terrestrial tree kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea.

The family of kingfishers is wide and a variety of kingfishers are found all over the world but kookaburras are unique. The laughing kookaburra dacelo novaeguineae is known for its unique kookaburra laugh. The laughter or kookaburra noise is sometimes mistaken for calls of other animals.

Other species of kookaburra birds are the rufous-bellied kookaburra, the blue winged kookaburra, the spangled kookaburra. They are different in size, habitat, and plumage color.

The blue winged kookaburra has several bright blue feathers on its brown wings. A laughing kookaburra’s wings are brown with few blue feathers. The spangled kookaburra is the bluest of them all and the rufous-bellied kookaburra is the most colorful.

Laughing kookaburras are prevalent in eastern Australia and mostly inhabit the dense eucalyptus forests. However, laughing Kookaburras will perch and nest most areas where they can find suitable trees and mostly prefer coastal areas. These Australian birds from the kingfisher family are the largest among the four species and an important part of Australian wildlife.

An interesting thing about the kookaburra is that kookaburra songs are usually heard at dawn and dusk, which has earned this species the name the ‘bushman’s clock’.

You may also check out the fact files on laughing kookaburra and vulture from Kidadl.

Kookaburra Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a kookaburra?

Kookaburras are terrestrial kingfishers that live on trees. The laughing kookaburra is the biggest member of the kingfisher family. The most interesting thing about kookaburra bird facts is the kookaburra call for which it is famous.

What class of animal does a kookaburra belong to?

Kookaburras belong to the class Aves meaning they are birds.

This species of birds are native to the Australian continent, New Guinea, and New Zealand. They have a complex social structure, can be extremely unpredictable, and are extremely loud.

How many kookaburras are there in the world?

The Australian kookaburra population is estimated to be 65 million birds.

Where does a kookaburra live?

Kookaburras live on trees in forests. Kookaburras are usually found in humid forests, suburban areas, close to flowing water bodies, and sometimes even in the arid savannas.

What is a kookaburra's habitat?

Although kookaburras are from the kingfisher family, they do not hunt for fish in water like other kingfishers. An ideal kookaburra habitat is sun-drenched climate, and shade of trees.

These birds wait patiently to swoop on prey and nest in dead tree cavities or hollow tree trunks. With their human-like laughter sound kookaburras advertise their territory all through the year. Kookaburras are fearless birds and kill snakes by thrashing them or dropping them from great heights.

These smart reptile-killer birds even steal food from snakes. Their diet includes worms, frogs, lizards.

Laughing kookaburras are even found in some of the arid areas of eastern Australia. They prefer open eucalyptus forests that are close to water sources. The largest member of the kingfisher family also inhabits lightly wooded farmlands and scrub or bush-lands. They can be spotted in parks and gardens and adapt well to different environments.

Who do kookaburras live with?

Kookaburras are social birds and live in family groups. Sometimes groups discard members that look different; these lone birds perch alone and look for food individually. Males defend their territory year-round. These are monogamous birds and the young often act as helpers to raise the next brood with their parents.

How long does a kookaburra live?

Kookaburras can live up to 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Laughing kookaburras mate for life. These monogamous birds remain within their territory and nest in tree holes. The ideal breeding season is from August to January.

Females can lay one to five eggs but mostly two. The parents raise the kids with the helper family group of elder siblings.

The young birds remain with the parents to take care of the following clutch. One of the most intriguing laughing kookaburra facts is the birds can determine the sex of their young ones while laying eggs. The first egg in a clutch is usually a male and the next a female.

Laughing kookaburra chicks are hatched without feathers and sealed eyes. However, they have a very sharp hook at the end of the bill and there is a season for this.

In case of scarcity of food, the elder sibling may peck and kill the younger sibling. Chicks fledge in about a month time. Helper birds usually leave family groups after four years and settle in their territory.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of laughing kookaburras is of the ‘Least Concern’. But the loss of habitat is the main threat to these terrestrial kingfishers.

Kookaburra Fun Facts

What do kookaburras look like?

Kookaburras belong to the kingfisher family, but do not prey on fish.

All four species of Australian and native New Zealand kookaburras look different. Their plumage and unique kookaburra wings make them easy to identify.

The laughing kookaburra can be recognized from its large size and brown wings with very few blue feathers. The spangles kookaburra has beautiful shades of blue on its wings and a white belly. The blue winged kookaburra has a brown body similar to the laughing kookaburra but beautiful blue-brown wings.

The rufous-bellied kookaburra has black cap-like plumage on its head. This is probably the most colorful among all the kookaburras.

How cute are they?

Laughing kookaburras look cute and unique with their broad, heavy beaks.

How do they communicate?

Kookaburras are known for their chuckling and laughter kookaburra sounds. Among all the four species, the blue-winged kookaburra lacks the loud 'koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa' sound of the other from its family. The laughing kookaburra has the loudest and the most frenzied laughter-like call.

How big is a kookaburra?

Compared to the African dwarf kingfisher, the smallest in the kingfisher family, the largest laughing kookaburras are thirty times heavier.

How fast can a kookaburra fly?

The flying speed of kookaburras has not been recorded.

How much does a kookaburra weigh?

Laughing kookaburras weigh about 0.66 lb (300 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female kookaburras do not have any special names.

What would you call a baby kookaburra?

A baby kookaburra is called a chick when born and a fledgling when the young bird grows feathers.

What do they eat?

The laughing kookaburra diet includes insects, worms, frogs, small mammals, small snakes, and crustaceans. They seize the prey by pouncing from a hidden perch and eat the small prey whole. These birds often bash up snakes against stones or trees to kill them before eating.

Are they dangerous?

Kookaburras do not attack humans but they often attack their reflection on glass windows in homes. These birds are skilled hunters, but kookaburras fall prey to birds of prey like hawks, eagles, owls, falcons. Eggs and chicks are eaten by snakes, large lizards, and cats.

Would they make a good pet?

It is not legal to keep a kookaburra pet without a permit in Australia. Keeping a kookaburra pet can be an extremely difficult job due to their need for large flying space, the requirement of group living, loud and harsh laughter, and a complex diet.

Australian kookaburras are wild, terrestrial kingfishers that thrive best in their natural habitat. If you live in their range and want to befriend a kookaburra, growing trees like golden wattle, blueberry ash, bottlebrush, broad-leaved paper-bark attract kookaburras.

Did you know...

When in a group, the kookaburras are called a flock or a riot of kookaburras.

The laughing kookaburra has such a peculiar, loud call, the kookaburra laughter is often mistaken as sounds of other animals like donkeys or monkeys.

The kookaburra sound was recorded and used in several old Tarzan movies although this bird is not found in Africa.

Laughing kookaburra facts are really interesting. These birds are also known as laughing jackass for their laughter, giant Kingfisher for their size and the name kookaburra is connected to their aboriginal name ‘guuguuberra’.

Blue winged kookaburras are innovative nest-making birds. If they cannot find suitable hollow tree trunks, they may nest in a termite hill or make a hole by pecking a soft baobab tree.

‘Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree’ is a famous Australian nursery rhyme inspired by this species of birds.

‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, was written in 1932 by Marion Sinclair and shows how popular this bird is among the Australian people.

Types of kookaburra

Four species of kookaburras belong to the genus dacelo. Among the four the rufous-bellied kookaburra and the spangled kookaburra or the Aru giant kingfisher are only found in New Guinea, and islands in the Torres Straits. The blue winged kookaburra and the laughing kookaburra or dacelo novaeguineae are abundantly found in Australia.

The blue winged kookaburra is also a large kingfisher that’s slightly smaller in size than the laughing kookaburra. The rufous-bellied kookaburra or dacelo gaudichaud is a colorful bird native to New Guinea and was originally known as Gaudichaud's kookaburra.

The spangled kookaburra, giant kookaburra, or dacelo tyro is the least known of the four species. These bright-colored blue winged birds live in the grasslands and dense rainforests.

Why do kookaburras laugh?

The harsh laughter-like sound is a kookaburra’s call. These Australian birds use their calls to establish their territory among different family groups. The kookaburra laugh is mostly heard at dawn and dusk.

Are kookaburras born blind?

Kookaburra chicks are born blind with their eyes sealed. The chicks that are first hatched out of eggs often kill their younger siblings with their shark hooked beak.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these mockingbird facts and great cormorant  facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our kookaburra coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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