Backyard Buddies

Photo: FNPW Image Library


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Laughing Kookaburras have a complex social structure and communicate with a wide variety of sounds. Their distinctive “laugh” is actually warning other kookaburras to stay out of their territory.

To let other kookaburras know where their home territory is, a family group will laugh throughout the day, especially around dawn and dusk. Disputes over territory are usually resolved with complicated flight displays involving a bird from each group. Very rarely does this result in tough physical battles.

Kookaburras can live for more than 20 years and have the same mate for life. Young kookaburras stay with the family for several years and family groups of more than 6 are common.

Kookaburras feed on small lizards and insects, and can catch and kill snakes in the bush. In urban areas they also hunt mice and rats.

Their greatest threat is from the loss of trees from our suburbs.

You can help encourage kookaburras in your area

Our neighbourhoods can be friendly for kookaburras. A family of kookaburras needs a large area with big trees and garden areas in which they can safely search for food. Their home territory may include over one hundred house blocks and some parkland.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The kookaburra is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the kookaburra, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what laughing kookaburras do and do not like.

Kookaburras love:

Tree hollows to nest in – big mature gum trees have these hollows.

Stout tree branches – as roost sites at night, as guard posts during the day and as perches used while watching for prey.

Leaf litter and mulched gardens – numerous small lizards and insects provide a perfect natural food source for kookaburras.

Safe gardens – where they can catch their favourite food, safe from predators.

But they don’t like:

Cats and dogs – which frighten or even attack them.

Garden pesticides – which can poison the birds if they eat contaminated insects.

Be a kookaburra buddy

Try to:


Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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