kookaburra

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kookaburra

(ko͝ok`əbûr'ə), common name for a squat, long-tailed Australian kingfisher, Dacelo novaeguineae. It is one of the largest birds of the family Alcedinidae (kingfisherkingfisher,
common name for members of the family Alcedinidae, essentially tropical and subtropical land birds, related to the bee-eaters, rollers, and todies. Kingfishers have chunky bodies, short necks and tails, large heads with erectile crests, and strong, long beaks.
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 family). Because of its loud, maniacal-sounding call, it is also known as the laughing jackass, or jackass kingfisher. The kookaburra has dull plumage and is about the size of a raven. Like many tree kingfishers, it does not fish at all, but rather feeds mainly on a diet of snakes, which it picks up by the head and drops from great heights in order to kill before consuming them. It also feeds on lizards, young birds, and large insects. Today, the kookaburra is often found in the vicinity of human settlements, using its large, hooked bill to scavenge for scraps. It is chiefly a solitary, nonmigratory bird. The kookaburra lays its pure white eggs in a burrow carved out of a termite nest. Both sexes participate in the incubation and care of their virtually helpless young. Kookaburras are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Coraciiformes, family Alcedinidae.

Bibliography

See study by V. A. Parry (1972).

kookaburra

1. a large arboreal Australian kingfisher, Dacelo novaeguineae (or gigas), with a cackling cry
2. a related smaller bird D. Leachii, of tropical Australia and New Guinea