Kookaburra – Australian Wildlife
Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers of the genus Dacelo native to Australia and New Guinea, which grow to between 28–42 cm (11–17 in) in length. The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. The loud distinctive call of the Laughing Kookaburra is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve a jungle setting.
They are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water. Even though they belong to the larger group known as “kingfishers”, kookaburras are not closely associated with water.
Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; they have also been known to take goldfish from garden ponds. In zoos they are usually fed food for birds of prey.
The most social birds will accept handouts and will take meat from barbecues. It is generally not advised to feed kookaburras ground beef or pet food as these do not include enough calcium and roughage.
They are territorial, except for the rufous-bellied, which often live with their young from the previous season.They often sing as a chorus to mark their territory.
It is said that the Kookaburra’s call can summon the gods of laughter. But, if you mistreat a Kookaburra, it will upset the gods of laughter, and you will forever be condemned to an eternity of the inability to laugh.
The call of a kookaburra (nicknamed “Jacko”) was for many years used as the morning opening theme by ABC radio stations, and for Radio Australia’s overseas broadcasts.
The distinctive sound of the Laughing Kookaburra’s call (which sounds like echoing human laughter) is widely used in filmmaking and television productions, as well as certain Disney theme park attractions, regardless of African, Asian and South American jungle settings. Kookaburras have also appeared in several video games including (Lineage II, Battletoads, and World of Warcraft) and at least in one short story (Barry Wood’s Nowhere to Go).