Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

The Laughing Kookaburra is the largest of the tree kingfisher family. They are sedentary, occupying the same territory throughout the year, nesting in large holes in tree trunks or branches. They feed (using perch-and-pounce techniques) on insects and other invertebrates, as well as lizards and snakes.

Kookaburras prefer open forest and woodland and are quite common in suburbs bordering Canberra nature reserves. They are easily seen and have the most distinctive and well-known call of any Australian bird. Observations are frequently of family groups.

Numbers are highest between January and March, and lowest in November. The low spring numbers are probably due to birds breeding and moving away from suburbs to the bush, or even birds on nests not being counted. The April to June decline could be from dispersal of young birds, although many young remain with their parents for some years.

Laughing Kookaburras were reported from three-quarters of the survey sites, in each year of the survey and generally in groups of two. The survey shows a clear but uneven decline in numbers which has been partly reversed over the last four years; the reason for this is unknown. There have been 32 breeding records during the course of the survey. The breeding period is long, with birds seen inspecting hollows from mid-July. There are records of dependent young from the end of November until the end of April. R=24. BR=29.

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