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 Who me +hellipdid I wake you   Laughing kookaburra

Who me …did I wake you? Laughing kookaburra

Artwork Type: Print


Pastel on pastelmat paper

Image  size  35 X 47cm.

Australia's laughing kookaburra is the world's heaviest kingfisher...not quite the biggest (Africa's giant kingfisher is slightly larger) but definitely the heaviest and most solid. Now that fact may possibly be attributed to the reality that kookas hunt their prey mostly on land and not in the water like most kingfishers. Their hunting often sees them spearing into the soil with tremendous force to get to the works and lizards that make up a lot of their diet. They often take small mammals and I have even watched them swallowing mice and whole black rats which for a bird only 45cm or so in total length is quite a feat. Since they cannot rip their food apart like a hawk or owl would they must choke it down whole.... which leads to their habit of bashing their prey on a branch or rock until it is broken and able to be gulped down without choking. They have the time-honoured reputation of killing many snakes but that is largely myth and mostly limited to small snakes.

The kooka is usually one of the first birds to issue forth with a dawn chorus and as such has earned the common tag of 'bushman's alarm clock'. Its ringing call of raucous laughter is hard to ignore at the very first hint of dawn on the horizon.

Kookaburras form family groups with only the matriarch and her chosen mate breeding. The rest of the extended family chip in to assist with feeding and chick raising.... that all sound very kind a generous but the reality is that laughing kookaburras are often brutal in territorial and mating fights whilst the babies in the nest hollow can often kill their siblings in the struggle for feeding

rights.     Love 'em or hate 'em laughing kookaburras are very hard to ignore

I hope you enjoy this pastel painting of one of our locals and if by chance you are leaving our local bakery with a pie or sausage roll keep your eyes alert for these avian opportunists who think nothing of having a meat pie for lunch.


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“My art is of nature,
 for nature

Steve Morvell


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