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The voice of the Laughing Kookaburra is so distinctive, it's one of the best known sounds in nature. Its exotic call has been a Hollywood standard for decades, that unseen creature in the depths of the jungle, with heroes ranging from Tarzan to Indiana Jones. Kookaburras are hefty members of the kingfisher family, found primarily in Australia and New Guinea. Learn more at the Australian Museum Online.
Laugh of the Kookaburra
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Laughing Kookaburra calls]
I bet you’ve heard this sound before, maybe on the soundtrack of a movie. [Laughing Kookaburra calls]
This oddly familiar crazed laughter belongs to the Laughing Kookaburra of Australia. [Laughing Kookaburra calls] Its exotic call has been a Hollywood standard for decades, that unseen creature lurking in the depths of the African jungle – or any jungle for that matter, in movies with heroes ranging from Tarzan to Indiana Jones.
But in reality, just what kind of birds are kookaburras? They’re hefty members of the kingfisher family, found primarily in Australia and New Guinea. The Laughing Kookaburra – one of four species of kookaburras – stands 18 inches tall and is the largest of all kingfishers. Unlike our familiar waterside kingfishers, kookaburras live in open woodlands and dive from branches to capture snakes, lizards, and mice.
The bird’s name, which imitates its raucous call, derives from an Australian aboriginal language, Wiradhuri (pronounced wee-rah-JOOR-ee). It’s also earned the names “bushman’s clock,” “breakfastbird,” and “alarmbird,” for its reliable habit of loudly ringing in the dawn. [Laughing Kookaburra calls]
Listeners support our show. Thank you! I’m Michael Stein.
Call of the Laughing Kookaburra provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by F.N. Robinson.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org August 2011 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 080907LAKOKPLU LAKO-01b