Kookaburras (scientific name Dacelo novaeguineae) are terrestrial tree kingfishers 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 single member of the genus Clytoceyx is commonly referred to as the shovel-billed kookaburra.
The kookaburra’s loud call sounds like echoing human laughter. 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.
Kookaburras eat bird seeds and other seed products. Kookaburras are known to eat the young of other birds, mice, snakes, insects and small reptiles. They have also 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 spoof and will take meat from barbecues. It is generally not advised to feed kookaburras meat regularly as it does not include calcium and other nutrients essential to the bird. Remainders of mince on the bird’s beak can fester and cause problems.