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Kookaburra

kookaburra close-up, laughing jackass

Kookaburra / Laughing Jackass, Dacelo novaeguineae, IMG 6555 - The kookaburra owes its colloquial name to the aboriginal word ‘guuguubarra’. It’s the bird’s early morning call that has led to its alternative name of ‘laughing jackass’, and it’s a sound that, according to an aboriginal legend, reminds the mythical people of the sky that it’s time to light the fires of the sun to illuminate and warm the earth. It’s an appealing yarn, but there’s a more down to earth interpretation of the varied calls of this iconic bird, for each has a specific meaning, with some proclaiming the bird’s territory, while others alert its mates to danger, let them know that there’s food on offer, or announce that someone’s on the lookout for a breeding partner.

Kookaburras are members of the kingfisher family and are the largest of the 10 members of this group that reside in Australia.

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