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Balanced breakfast andndash Laughing kookaburras

Balanced breakfast – Laughing kookaburras

Artwork Type: Print,Original Piece

Pastel on Pastelmat paper

Image Size 36 X 51cm   

Laughing kookaburras are the heaviest of the kingfisher family though the African giant kingfisher is a bit larger. Often referred to as the 'bushman's alarm clock' their fantastical family laughter echoes loudly through the bushland even before the sun is over the horizon. They truly are never forgotten once you have heard the deafening chorus of their matriarchal family ritual.

Forming strong families, laughing kookas combine their efforts to raise the nestlings which the matriarch has hatched. Uncles and aunties all bring food and are very serious about raising the babies.

This adult and recently hatched baby are sitting happily on our old front gate while the male provides baby with a fat juicy grub to eat. The adults have a very solid skull structure since most of their hunting is done on land and not often in the water. When they hit the soil in the quest for a worm, lizard or grub the beak hammers deep into the soil. The impact would likely injure a lesser bird. Their diet is extremely varied and opportunistic. I have personally watched one kill and swallow a whole (yes I did say whole) black rat! Now when you consider the size of a black rat and realise that the kooka cannot chew but must swallow it whole, it will not surprise you to learn that it took the ambitious bird a full half hour to choke it down his throat. The pained expression on the face of this ambitious bird as it sat with only the rat's tail hanging out of its beak was a joy to behold.

This pastel painting I completed today shows clearly the blue rump and wing feathers that identify an adult male.

Now you will read exaggerated stories of heroic kookaburras slaying big venomous snakes and it's true they will and do eat many small reptiles and frogs, But the stories are often exaggerated although having been seriously bitten when rescuing an injured kooka, I can personally swear (and swear I did!) their bite is truly to be reckoned with.

If you wish to learn more about laughing kookaburras you can visit the links on my website or simply click on the link to Birdlife Australia


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“My art is of nature,
 for nature

Steve Morvell


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