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Throughout eastern Australia, plus southern and south-western Australia


Forest woodlands, wooded country.


Large head and bill. Head is cream with brown streaks and ear patch. Upper parts brown with pale blue mottling on shoulders, rufous tail barred black. Rump pale blue in male, brown in female and juvenile.

Kookaburra Click to View Bigger Picture

The kookaburra has a very special cry which it regularly shrieks at dusk and dawn. It lives in pairs but reunions of several individuals have been observed during the mating season. It is a popular bird as it loses its fear of humans quickly, even perching on their hands if offered food. The kookaburra hunts snakes by quickly hammering the head with its powerful beak and then seizing the reptile behind the neck. Its fearlessness of snakes, venomous or not, has earned it the nickname of "snake-killer".

The kookaburra is omnivorous and will eat anything it can find. Most often it is a wide range of small animals that become its victims.


Incubation for the kookaburra usually lasts 25 days. 2-4 eggs are laid though usually the parents will only care for the first-hatched unless conditions are exceptionally good. Only 1 brood occurs each year.

Class: aves
Genus: Dacelo
Species: novaeguineae
Length: 16-18 inches
Average Lifespan: 25
Wild Diet: Terrestrial anthropods, small vertebrates, reptiles.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Off Exhibit: Education Animal Facility

Learn more about aves or animals from Australasia!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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