Chadder – Laughing Kookaburra
Hatched: March 3, 2008
Chadder was hatched at the Milwaukee County Zoo’s aviary where she was trained to become an education bird. Public shows did not seem to suit her, so she was brought to World Bird Sanctuary. Our trainers worked with her as well and found that she was a perfect fit for an exhibit bird. She is calm and relaxed while visitors get to see and hear her infamous call or “laugh.”
During the winter months , Chadder is housed in a heated building because Kookaburras cannot tolerate our cold winters. However, as soon as the weather warms in the summer, look (and listen) for her in the outdoor exhibits near they Wildlife Hospital.
Species: Laughing Kookaburra
Scientific Name: Dacelo novaeguineae
Description: large, terrestrial kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea; stout, compact body, short neck, rather long pointed bill, and short legs; upper parts dark brown; wings spotted gray-blue; white band separates the head from the body; dark stripe through the eye; under parts white; tail rusty reddish-orange with dark brown bars and white feather tips; bill is black on top and bone colored on bottom
Sex: sexes similar; females slightly larger with less blue to the
Age: about 11-15 years in the wild and up to 15-20 years in captivity
Length: 15″-18″ in length, the beak can grow to 4 inches
Weight: 13-16 oz.
Habitat: humid forest to arid savanna; also suburban and residential areas near running water
Status: four known species of which the Laughing Kookaburra is the most well-known
Range: Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands
Behavior: known to seize snakes behind the head and and drops them from a great height, or carries them to a perch and batters them senseless with it’s big bill; generally live in pairs or small groups; incubate 2-4 pure white eggs in hollow tree trunks, tree holes or excavated termite nests; both adults incubate for about 25 days; young leave the nest after 30 days, but continue to be fed by the parents for another 40 days
Diet: carnivorous diet consists of lizards, snakes, insects, mice, and raw meat; known to eat babies of other birds
Vocalization: call sounds like hysterical human laughter; most often heard as they go to roost at dusk, and again in the morning as dawn breaks; call is well known because of it’s use in “jungle” movies
- The largest member of the Kingfisher family.
- Aboriginal legend holds that when the sun rose for the first time, the god Bayame ordered the kookaburra to utter it’s loud, almost human laugh to wake up mankind so that they should not miss the wonderful sunrise.