Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creature Feature: Kookaburas.

At some point in your life, you have heard this laugh. It is often part of the standard "jungle noise" track. Many people probably assume that it is some sort of loud monkey call.

Nope. That was a bird up there:

The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird native to Australia. As its form would suggest, it is closely related to kingfishers, but hunts land-locked prey like rodents instead of fish. These vocal birds are a dime a dozen in Australia; due to their hysterical calls at dawn and dusk, they have sometimes been called the "Bushman's clock." Other names include "giant kingfisher" and "Laughing Jackass."

They're cute once they have feathers, too.

All kookaburras 'laugh.' The Laughing Kookaburra is by far the most notorious. Although it sounds happy to humans (enough so to merit a children's song), these calls are usually territorial. There are several kookaburras in one territory that form the chorus, but like boy bands, they are otherwise trying to outsing each other.

Once they get more members, they will call themselves the Backstreet Birds.

These are probably the most friendly carnivorous birds one will ever meet. They willingly accept handouts. Hell, if you do not give them your barbeque meat, they might just take it.

Why so serious?

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