Saturday, October 1, 2011


The Laughing KookaburraDacelo novaeguineae of the Kingfisher family (one of two species in Australia), was introduced to Perth in 1898.  It is not native to Western Australia. 

Its name comes from an extinct aboriginal language and means "Hahahaha heeheeheehee hahaha hoo hoo hoo hoo heheheheheheheh," which is also an approximation of the bird's unmistakable call.

Photographed at Bindoon this week. 

Kookaburras are smart and fearless.  I knew of a particularly smart one at the University of Western Australia where he held the position of professor of experiential ornithology and notorious sandwich thief.

Sitting on the branch of a tree some thirty-five feet away from an open-air cafe on the verandah of the library, this bird could time his flight so perfectly and anticipate humans' actions so well that he could leave his branch just as you picked up your sandwich and as you lifted it to your mouth, snatch it right out of your hands, zooming inches past your face.  He would then alight at a nearby table and eat your sandwich in front of you, daring you to do something about it. 

Kookaburras also hunt lizards, snakes, small mammals, and many, many cute baby ducklings.  So they can't be all bad.

All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Buffet for the Kookaburra

And in case the name Kookaburra becomes too boring for you to utter, you can choose from these nicknames:

Bushman's Clock
Ha-Ha Pigeon
Breakfast Bird
Photographed in 2005

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