Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota

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Animals - Australian Connection

Kookaburra - Nancy & Scott
Dacelo novaguineae
Range: Native to eastern and southern Australia. They have been introduced to Tasmania.
Habitat: In medium to dense woodland, which is typically cool and wet.
Diet: Kookaburras generally feed off small animals such as lizards. At the zoo they eat mice, fish and chickens.
Fun Facts:
  • Their nest is typically found in a hole about 30 feet up a Mountain Gum tree.
  • Kookaburras mate for life. They build nests in hollow trees or a termite mound, which protects the nest from predators. 
  • They have a unique method of parenting in which the young, once reared and fledged, stay around to assist the parents with the next clutch. It is not unusual for a second clutch to be laid in a season and so the auxiliaries take over the raising of the first brood, while the parents raise the second. 
  • In family groups all members actually develop brood patches (bare spots of skin on the breast from which heat can flow from the warm bird to the eggs) and share in the incubation of the eggs. 
  • Known also as the Giant Kingfisher, Laughing Jackass or Bushman's Clock, the bird is known for its famous laugh. The laugh is a repeated "kook-kook-kook-ka-ka-ka" call that rises and falls in volume as family members join in to form a raucous chorus. It is often heard at dawn, which sparked the initiation of its nickname, "Bushman's Clock". 
  • Farmers value the Kookaburra because they prey on pest species such as poisonous snakes and rats.

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