The Laughing Kookaburra


Crikey, that’s one interesting laugh. Sounding something similar to what a cross between a primate and a hyena would possibly sound, that’s the call of a laughing kookaburra.

The bird in this video is named Crikey. Crikey is an 8-year-old laughing kookaburra who lives at the San Diego Zoo and entertains zoo goers with that crazy cackle. Crikey and another laughing kookaburra, by the name of Matilda, we’re both hatched June 18th, 2007. They have both been handled by humans since they were very young, which makes them used to being held and shown off by their handlers. That way you get to see some of the cool tricks that they can do.

One of these tricks you’ve seen in the video. The call of the laughing kookaburra is quite the unexpected pleasure. It’s actually been recorded and used as a jungle sound effect in movies in order to represent the sound of a group of monkeys. Another of the many talents of the kookaburra is their stationary head, while hunting prey. They can be standing on a branch that’s swaying to and fro and their bodies are moving with the flow, but if they have spotted some prey their heads will stay still while their bodies move at will.


The laughing kookaburra, being in the kingfisher family, doesn’t eat fish like the other kingfisher varieties do. They prefer their food to move on land. They’ll go after rodents, frogs, insects and even snakes. They’ve been known to kill snakes up to three feet long! The laughing kookaburra will grab its prey and carry it into a tree where it will beat it against a branch, killing it before eating it whole. If it’s too big to be carried off, the kookaburra will just smack its prey against the ground resulting in the same outcome.

Laughing kookaburra are one of those few types of animals that will mate for life. They establish a nest and a territory and they even allow several of their grown children to share this territory. These grown children help their parents out with the new babies that hatch in the nest, occasionally contributing a few of their own eggs.

If you’re ever in the San Diego area, go check out the zoo. You’ll likely be able to hear the call of a laughing kookaburra before you even see one. So be sure to keep your ears open for the sound of a primate/hyena cross and you’ll be on the right path. Just don’t blame me if you end up near the monkeys by mistake.


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Julie Antonson

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