Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

The kookaburra is the largest member of the kingfisher family and was introduced into Tasmania. Back and wings are brown with scapulars edged in blue. The head is white with faint barrings and has a white-edged tail with dark bars. With its long stout bill and keen eyesight, the kookaburra is well adapted to hunting.

Breeding

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Reach sexual maturity at 1 year. Often nest in holes, using natural cavities in trees, although they will also occupy nests of tree termites or use holes in the walls of buildings. The female lays 3-4 eggs, incubating for 20 days. The young are dependent on the parents for some months, some may even stay on to assist in feeding the next brood and defend territory.

Behaviour

Occurs singly, in pairs or small family parties. Prefers open forest and woodlands, also found in parks and gardens. When hunting during the day, relies upon patience and ambush when looking for prey from its perch on a tree branch. It then swoops rapidly down and grasps the victim in its long dagger-like bill. Unlike some kingfishers, this bird does not usually hunt over water for fish. These birds usually call at dawn and dusk, and once one bird has started, the others join in.

Diet

Insects and other invertebrates, small mammals such as rodents, reptiles, including skinks, snakes, and chicks of other birds.

Status

Secure.

BirdsLuke