|Laughing Kookaburra in Tasmania, Australia|
|Cladogram based on the molecular analysis by Andersen and colleagues published in 2017.|
Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers of the genus Dacelo native to Australia and New Guinea, which grow to between 28–42 cm (11–17 in) in length. The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. The loud distinctive call of the laughing kookaburra is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve an Australian bush setting or tropical jungle, especially in older movies.
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land, as compared with aquatic animals, which live predominantly or entirely in the water, or amphibians, which rely on a combination of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Terrestrial invertebrates include ants, flies, crickets, grasshoppers and spiders.
The tree kingfishers or wood kingfishers, subfamily Halcyoninae, are the most numerous of the three subfamilies of birds in the kingfisher family, with around 70 species divided into 12 genera, including several species of kookaburras. The subfamily appears to have arisen in Indochina and Maritime Southeast Asia and then spread to many areas around the world. Tree kingfishers are widespread through Asia and Australasia, but also appear in Africa and the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, using a range of habitats from tropical rainforest to open woodlands.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
They are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water. Even though they belong to the larger group known as "kingfishers", kookaburras are not closely associated with water.
Kingfishers or Alcedinidae are a family of small to medium-sized, brightly colored birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The family contains 114 species and is divided into three subfamilies and 19 genera. All kingfishers have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. Most species have bright plumage with only small differences between the sexes. Most species are tropical in distribution, and a slight majority are found only in forests. They consume a wide range of prey usually caught by swooping down from a perch. While kingfishers are usually thought to live near rivers and eat fish, many species live away from water and eat small invertebrates. Like other members of their order, they nest in cavities, usually tunnels dug into the natural or artificial banks in the ground. Some kingfishers nest in arboreal termite nests. A few species, principally insular forms, are threatened with extinction. In Britain, the word "kingfisher" normally refers to the common kingfisher.
The genus Dacelo was introduced by the English zoologist William Elford Leach in 1815.The type species is the laughing kookaburra. The name Dacelo is an anagram of Alcedo, the Latin word for a kingfisher. A molecular study published in 2017 found that the genus Dacelo, as currently defined, is paraphyletic. The shovel-billed kookaburra in the monotypic genus Clytoceyx sits within Dacelo.
William Elford Leach, MD, FRS was an English zoologist and marine biologist.
In zoological nomenclature, a type species is the species name with which the name of a genus or subgenus is considered to be permanently taxonomically associated, i.e., the species that contains the biological type specimen(s). A similar concept is used for suprageneric groups called a type genus.
The laughing kookaburra is a bird in the kingfisher subfamily Halcyoninae. It is a large robust kingfisher with a whitish head and a dark eye-stripe. The upperparts are mostly dark brown but there is a mottled light-blue patch on the wing coverts. The underparts are white and the tail is barred with rufous and black. The plumage of the male and female birds is similar. The territorial call is a distinctive laugh that is often delivered by several birds at the same time, and is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve a jungle setting.
Four species of kookaburra can be found in Australia, New Guinea, and the Aru Islands.
The Aru Islands Regency are a group of about ninety-five low-lying islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia. They also form a regency of Maluku, with a land area of 8,152.42 square kilometres. At the 2011 Census the Regency had a population of 84,138; the latest official estimate was 93,722.
Kookaburras are sexually dimorphic. This is noticeable in the blue-winged and the rufous-bellied, where males have blue tails and females have reddish-brown tails.
Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs. The condition occurs in many animals and some plants. Differences may include secondary sex characteristics, size, weight, color, markings, and may also include behavioral and cognitive differences. These differences may be subtle or exaggerated, and may be subjected to sexual selection. The opposite of dimorphism is monomorphism.
The rufous-bellied kookaburra, originally known as Gaudichaud’s kookaburra after the French botanist Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré, is a species of kookaburra which is widely distributed through the forests of lowland New Guinea. It has also been recorded on Saibai Island, Queensland, Australia.
Saibai Island is an island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago, located in the Torres Strait of Queensland, Australia. The island is situated north of the Australian mainland and south of the island of New Guinea.
The spangled kookaburra also called Aru giant kingfisher, is a little-known species of kookaburra found in the Aru Islands, Trans Fly savanna and grasslands of southern New Guinea. Practically nothing is known of its family life or breeding biology.
Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; unlike many other kingfishers, they rarely eat fish, although they have been known to take goldfish from garden ponds. In zoos they are usually fed food for birds of prey.
The most social birds will accept handouts and will take meat from barbecues. It is generally not advised to feed kookaburras ground beef or pet food, as these do not include enough calcium and roughage.
They are territorial, except for the rufous-bellied, which often live with their young from the previous season.They often sing as a chorus to mark their territory.
All kookaburra species are listed as Least Concern. Australian law protects native birds, including kookaburras.
The distinctive sound of the laughing kookaburra's call, which sounds like echoing human laughter, is widely used in filmmaking and television productions, as well as certain Disney theme park attractions, regardless of African, Asian and South American jungle settings. Kookaburras have also appeared in several video games, including ( Lineage II , Battletoads , and World of Warcraft ) and at least in one short story (Barry Wood's Nowhere to Go).
Olly the Kookaburra was one of the three mascots chosen for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The other mascots were Millie the Echidna and Syd the Platypus.
In William Arden's 1969 book, The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow , (one of 'The Three Investigators' series for young readers), the laughing kookaburra is integral to the plot.
The children's television series Splatalot! includes an Australian character called "Kookaburra" (or "Kook"), whose costume includes decorative wings that recall the bird's plumage, and who is noted for his distinctive high-pitched laugh.
The call of a kookaburra nicknamed "Jacko" was for many years used as the morning opening theme by ABC radio stations, and for Radio Australia's overseas broadcasts.This was the basis for a book for children:
An Australian coin known as the Silver Kookaburra minted annually since 1990.
The Australian 12-metre yacht Kookaburra III lost the America's Cup in 1987.
The Australian Men's Hockey team is named after the kookaburra. As of 2014 [update] , they are world champions in field hockey.
Australian sports equipment company Kookaburra Sport is named after the bird.
The belted kingfisher is a large, conspicuous water kingfisher, the only member of that group commonly found in the northern United States and Canada. It is depicted on the 1986 series Canadian $5 note. All kingfishers were formerly placed in one family, Alcedinidae, but recent research suggests that this should be divided into three subfamilies.
The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.
The blue-winged kookaburra is a large species of kingfisher native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea.
The green kingfisher is a resident breeding bird which occurs from southern Texas in the United States south through Central and South America to central Argentina.
The American pygmy kingfisher is a resident breeding kingfisher which occurs in the American tropics from southern Mexico south through Central America to western Ecuador, and then around the northern Andes cordillera in the east to central Bolivia and central Brazil. The species occupies the entire Amazon basin and the Tocantins River drainage adjacent in Pará state Brazil. It also occurs on Trinidad.
The Birds of Boigu, Saibai and Dauan Islands, are of particular interest to Australian birders because the islands are home to, and visited by, birds which are essentially New Guinea species not found, or only occasionally seen as vagrants, elsewhere on Australian territory. The islands lie only a few kilometres from the mainland of New Guinea, though they are politically part of the state of Queensland, Australia.
The buff-breasted paradise kingfisher is a bird in the tree kingfisher subfamily, Halcyoninae. It is native to Australia and New Guinea. It migrates in November from New Guinea to its breeding grounds in the rainforest of North Queensland, Australia. Like all paradise kingfishers, this bird has colourful plumage with a red bill, buff breast and distinctive long tail streamers.
The shovel-billed kookaburra, also known as the shovel-billed kingfisher, is a large, approximately 33 cm (13 in) long, dark brown tree kingfisher with a heavy, short and broad bill that is unique among the kingfishers. It has a dark head with rufous stripe behind eye, a white throat, rufous neck collar and underparts, bright blue rump, brown iris, brownish-black bill with paler mandible and pale feet. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but are easily recognized from the color of the tail. The male has a dark bluish tail while female's is rufous. The juvenile has a female-like plumage with scale-patterned feathers.
The banded kingfisher is a tree kingfisher found in lowland tropical forests of southeast Asia. It is the only member of the genus Lacedo. Male and female adults are very different in plumage. The male has a bright blue crown with black and blue banding on the back. The female has rufous and black banding on the head and upperparts.
The green-and-rufous kingfisher is a resident breeding bird in the lowlands of the American tropics from southeastern Nicaragua south to southern Brazil.
The lilac kingfisher or Celebes flat-billed kingfisher is a resident breeding bird in the lowlands of the Indonesia island of Sulawesi and the neighbouring Sangihe and Talaud Islands. It is the only member of the genus Cittura.
The moustached kingfisher, also called Bougainville moustached kingfisher, is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. An estimated 250–1,000 mature individuals are left.
The hook-billed kingfisher is a species of kingfisher in the subfamily Halcyoninae that is resident in the lowland forested areas of New Guinea and some of the nearby islands. It is the only member of the genus Melidora.
The brown-headed paradise kingfisher, also known as the russet paradise kingfisher, is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to the lowland forest in south east Papua New Guinea. Its natural habitats are temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Like all paradise kingfishers this bird has colourful plumage with a red bill and distinctive long tail streamers.
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