The laughing kookaburra is so-called because of its laughing call which it uses to demarcate its territorial borders. The call is often heard at dawn and it is this which given rise to another of the kookaburras names, the Bushman’s clock.
It is the largest member of the kingfisher family which is not restricted to living by rivers but lives and hunts in forest and woodland. Kookaburras live in loose family groups with offspring helping the adults to hunt and care for the next generation of youngsters.
They hunt in a similar way to other kingfishers; by sitting on a convenient perch and waiting for food to pass by. The kingfisher is carnivorous and feeds on mice and similar sized mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings and most famously snakes. They have been known to catch, kill and eat venomous snakes which are much longer than they are.
Kookaburras are becoming so accustomed to humans they will eat from hands by swooping and grabbing food.
Eastern Australia, introduced to Tasmania
Forest, woodland, orchards, parkland in suburbs
Insects, small reptiles, frogs, small rodents