Laughing Kookaburra - Dacelo gigas
The kookaburra laugh is the most distinctive sound of the Australian bush. Aboriginal legend has it that the famous morning chorus is a signal for the 'sky people' to light the great fire that illuminates and warms the earth by day.
More mundanely, it is essentially a territorial call which delineates neighbouring groups and is particularly loud in choruses at dawn and dusk.
The kookaburra is the largest member of the kingfisher family. While their diet has long since extended from fish to include, snakes, lizards, rodents, insects and other invertebrates, that does not mean that your fish pond is safe...
'Kookies' will tolerate humans in their neighbourhood and are quick to spot and take advantage of a 'soft mark'. The fellow on the right is a regular caller.
At our home we have a gang (it seems the appropriate collective noun) of 5-7 that come every morning to ascertain if there are any offcuts from the pet and human meals from the night before (there always is!). They have to compete with two families of Australian magpies, a family of grey butcher birds, some pied currawongs and a flock of crows for their share.
The family group is normal, with immature birds and young adults staying with the family for up to four years, helping to guard the territory and feed the young.
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