Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Australia - Kookaburra

The Kookaburras belong to the family of the Kingfishers and are native to Australia and New Guinea, but only the Australian one is famous for its unmistakable laughing call. They feed on insects, snakes, frogs and other small animals.

Sent by Claire, a postcrosser from Australia.

This is from Wikipedia : Kookaburras (genus Dacelo) are large to very large (total length 28–42 cm/11–17 in) terrestrial kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea, the name a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, which is onomatopoeic of its call. The single member of the genus Clytoceyx, though commonly referred to as the Shovel-billed Kookaburra, is not treated in this article.

Kookaburras are best known for their unmistakable call, which sounds uncannily like loud, echoing human laughter — good-natured, but rather hysterical, merriment in the case of the renowned Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae); and maniacal cackling in the case of the slightly smaller Blue-winged Kookaburra (D. leachii). They are generally not closely associated with water, and can be found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, but also in suburban and residential areas near running water and where food can be searched for easily.

There are four known species of kookaburras found in Australia, New Guinea, and the Aru Islands.

Unusual for close relatives, the Laughing and Blue-winged species are direct competitors in the area where their ranges overlap. This suggests that the two species, though having common stock, evolved in isolation (possibly during a period when Australia and New Guinea were more distant — see Australia-New Guinea) and were only brought back into contact in relatively recent geological times.

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