Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree...


The first Laughing Kookaburra that we saw in Oz was actually perched on the balcony of a large apartment building. I noticed it as we were standing around waiting for our Sydney Opera House tour to begin. We encountered them throughout our trip - on telephone wires, in parks, and even at some wineries. This large member of the kingfisher family is as synonymous with Australia as the kangaroo and koala. Well, at least for birders it is. The Laughing Kookaburra's maniacal call is also found in many movies as the quintessential jungle sound. We had the pleasure of hearing them call a few times. Unfortunately, we didn't encounter Australia's other Kookaburra - the Blue-winged Kookaburra. This particular bird was photographed at the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens.


10 comments:

Christopher Taylor said...

For blue-winged kookaburras, you need to head further north. They're common in Queensland.

Patrick Belardo said...

There's a good chance that we saw one along the road while in the Port Douglas / Daintree area and I dismissed it as a Laughing. I wish I had been driving myself to stop and look!

P. Ollig said...

Huh, I didn't realize they're a member of the kingfisher family. What do they eat (besides gumdrops, I mean)?

Patrick Belardo said...

Paul - from Wikipedia:

Kookaburras hunt much as other kingfishers (or indeed Australasian robins) do: by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by. Common prey includes mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and most famously, snakes. Small prey are preferred, but not infrequently do kookaburras take surprisingly large creatures, including venomous snakes a good deal longer than the bird itself.

OpposableChums said...

Kookaburras, Fruit Doves, Frogmouths...I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore...

Christopher said...

I've had dreams of seeing Fruit Doves & Kookaburras in the wild - very cool. I really like how you are introducing a species from you trip with each post.

elizabird said...

sweet...you are living my dream.

Owlman said...

Great pics Patrick. The good news is that you won't be running out of blog material any time soon. It really sounds like the dream trip. I was watching an episode of Attenborough's birds last night and he mentioned that Oz had the largest diversity/number of parrots. I would never have associated Oz with parrots.....

Patrick Belardo said...

Owlman, they do indeed have a lot! Not that we saw that many of them... I recorded the show Nature last night about the Oz parrots. I assume it's the same show. I can't wait to watch it.

Owlman said...

Hey Patrick,

YEah, I think so. I'm Tivoing the whole series. They had this AMAZING Cockatoo in there called a Palm Cockatoo.... I don't want to spoil it for you, but it's AMAZING!