A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek


Scientific stuff

Laughing kookaburra

Also called
laughing jackass,

Dacelo novaeguineae

Adult about 45 centimetres (18 inches)

Large kingfisher with strong beak, brown wings flecked with whitish blue spots. Underparts are white, but may show dark patch on top and back of head, and dark patch behind eye that looks like a stripe across eyes.

Gives loud chuckling laugh, sounding something like kook-kook-kook-kook hoo-hoo-ha-ha hoo-hoo-hook-kook ahhh.

(Please read that last sentence out loud to someone.)

Strong, dependable, cares for family, stays with mate for life.

Using our photos

Photos on this website are copyright. If you want to use any, email us at: creeklife@gmail.com

Kroona's photos

A number of kookaburras either visit or live around Calamvale Creek. Two of them — Kroona and Boomer — are shown on this page.

The photographer said:
“Laughing kookaburras are often heard around the creek, but they can be hard to photograph unless they come to a tree near you.

“Kroona did land on a tree branch not far from me when I had a camera in my hand, so I got several shots of him against the blue sky. He wasn't perturbed that I was taking his photo.

“Boomer, who is older than Kroona, made an appearance on another day. He was flying from tree to tree, and I thought I would miss getting a photo because he wouldn't stay still long in any trees near me.

“Eventually he settled on a branch, and I had enough time to get the photo at left.”

Critters of Calamvale Creek

Kroona, the laughing kookaburra

Also called jackass, laughing jackass

Dacelo novaeguineae

kookaburra_1 (23K) Kook-koo-hoo-haa!

Howdy smilers! I am Kroona the laughing kookaburra. I laugh a lot, and if you visit me and tell a joke, I will laugh at you too.

When several members of our family get together, we form a chorus of laughter — some laughing our normal long laugh, and others doing a short kooo-aa at the same time. If you listen closely you will hear our multiple voices joining in the chorus.

Why do we laugh?

Dacelo_novaeguineae_2 (36K)Well, it's not really because someone tells a good joke. Sometimes our call is to let the rest of the family know we have been disturbed, or that there are troublemakers in the area.

Sometimes it is to let other kookaburra groups know that we have settled in this territory.

If another group of kookaburras wants our territory, Boomer (pictured at left) will usually fly against a member of the rival group. Sometimes these jousts result in serious injuries.

What do I eat?

I like water skinks, insects, worms, small snakes, and rodents. Once I mistook an eel for a snake and nearly drowned.

If I'm sitting on a branch and see some prey, I swoop down and grab it. If it's small I eat it whole, but if it's large I bash it against a branch or the ground.

I don't mind it when home owners in the area toss me scraps of meat. I bash that too to get rid of the human's germs on it (just joking). Kook-kook-koo hoo-ha-haa.

What are my likes and dislikes?

termite_mound_in_tree (19K) I don't like cats and dogs, because they try to attack me when I swoop down to get a meal. But I do like big gum trees. Calamvale Creek has some beautiful gum trees and other trees with high branches around the water and the parkland. It's a great environment for kooka kids.

We also like hollows in trees to nest in. When gum trees lose a branch it often creates a perfect home. We sometimes bore a hollow in termite mounds high up in trees. There are a few of those around Calamvale Creek (see picture at right).

When Mother Kooka lays two or three eggs in the hollow between August and January, the rest of the family helps with incubation, protecting the young, and feeding them.

What is our family life like?

kookaburra_4 (22K)Kookaburras have a wonderfully close family life. When we find a mate we stay together for life. We all share the parenting duties, and we have lots of laughs together every day.

That may be why we live so happily together for up to 20 years.

How you can help us

kookaburra_3 (6K)Although we have fights within our own family (like you humans do), we are not aggressive toward people. You can help us keep the laughter coming in several ways.

  1. We need trees for nesting, and high trees for perching on while we look for prey. Removing big gum trees means we have fewer sites for breeding and searching for our food.
  2. If you hear us in your area, don't put pesticides around. If we eat the animals or insects you have poisoned, we absorb the poison and it can make us sick or even kill us.
  3. Don't leave meat scraps out for us if we are not around to take them from you. We can make a good living ourselves, and if we don't come around after you throw your meat out, you may be attracting feral animals.
  4. Don't be too quick to clean up leaf litter and old logs. We find lots of lizards, worms, and insects breeding there.

Have a happy day. Kook-kook-koo-hoo-haa!

— Kroona the laughing kookaburra