Have a Laugh with a Kookaburra in Your Backyard
The Laughing Kookaburra is one of the most well-loved birds of our suburbs. Look out for them on fences, trees and rooftops. Laughing Kookaburras are easily recognized by their ‘Koo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-haa-haa-haa-haa’ call which sounds like a cackling laugh.
There are two kinds of Kookaburras in Australia, the Laughing Kookaburra and the Blue Winged Kookaburra, whichhas a distinctive silver-blue line on its wings.
Laughing Kookaburras can often be quite cheeky, and have been known to steal sausages off the barbeques of unsuspecting people. So next time you are having a barbeque, have a look around and see if you have any watchful Kookaburras lurking on your fences or up in your trees who want to join in.
You can help looking after Kookaburras in your Backyard
Kookaburras often stick with their families for several years. You may see a family around your area or backyard with six or more Kookaburras.
Kookaburras are often spotted on verandahs. So if you’re lucky enough, one might visit you! You may even go unnoticed by the Kookaburra as it swoops on the leaf litter of your garden in search of skinks, lizards and insects to eat.
Be a Backyard Buddy
Kookaburras rely on the natural environment for food and shelter. Having a large range of native shrubs and trees in your backyard means that Kookaburras have plenty of sticks and leaves to build a nest with.
Having local native plants in your garden will also attract insects such as bees and stick insects,
which provide a tasty treat for Kookaburras.
- Rummaging through leaf litter and grass in search of grubs, lizards and other creepy crawlies.
- Building nests within large tree hollows or termite mounds.
- Frolicking in creeks and rivers to wash their wings and feathers.
But they don't like:
- Cats or dogs that try to chase them! Try to keep your pets indoors as much as possible, or invest in a cat-run.
- Insects that have been poisoned with pesticides.
- Exposed areas that don’t have enough big trees for shelter or nesting.
Be a Buddy to Laughing Kookaburras
- Keep you cat indoors at night so it doesn’t have the change to pounce on Kookaburras while they are sleeping.
- Plant plenty of locally native shrubs and trees such as gum trees.
- Provide a birdbath so that Kookaburras have a place to cool off in the hot sun and get a drink.
- Feeding Kookaburras by hand, as they might mistake your finger for food and give you a nip!
- Using pesticides that can poison insects that Kookaburras feed on.
- Cutting down old, large trees that Kookaburras might nest in.
Don't be surprised if Laughing Kookaburras:
- Bang their prey against trees or rocks. The Kookaburra does this to kill and soften their food before they eat it.
- Are seen eating a snake! Kookaburras have the skills and the beak to successfully hunt large and dangerous prey, so they are great buddies to have around your place.
- Nest in a termite mound, as this gives them shelter and provides a safe nesting space.
A few more Laughing Kookaburra facts
Laughing Kookaburra profile:
- The Laughing Kookaburra is not having a laugh when it makes this familiar sound. It is actually protecting its territory by warning other Kookaburras to stay away.
- They can live for 20 years and have the same mate for life. Young Kookaburras that have left the nest remain with their parents to act as helpers for the next generation of baby Kookaburras.
- Kookaburras are aggressive predators that can deftly swoop down to the forest floor in order to catch their prey.