Kookaburras

KookaburrasKookaburras (Dacello novaeguineae)

Other common names: Kookaburra, Great Brown Kingfisher, Laughing Jackass, Bushman's Clock.

Physical description

  • The largest bird in the kingfisher family, achieving a body size 45cm in length.
  • White crown with distinctive brown stripe through each eye and over the centre of the crown. The collar and entire underparts white; sometimes grey barring can occur on the flanks.
  • Back and wings brown, with the feather edges on the shoulders flecked blue.
  • The rump and tail is chestnut in colour and barred black, with the tail often cocked.
  • Long and strong beak; black above and yellowish below.
  • Juveniles dark billed, strong grey-brown barring underneath with white on the wings.
  • Characteristic and accelerating laugh, increasing in volume and then fading.

Ecology

  • Inhabit a wide range of habitats, from open forests and woodlands, arid savannah and residential and suburban areas such as cultivated parks and gardens where there is access to food and water.
  • Carnivorous, preying upon small mammals, reptiles, insects and raw meat.

Breeding

  • Breeding season occurs from September through to January. They form pairs for life.
  • Only one clutch per season is produced due to the long period of time taken to raise chicks to independence.
  • Tree cavities or burrows excavated in termite mounds generally no more than 12 metres from the ground are utilised for nesting localities. No nesting materials are used and eggs are laid close to the entrance of the hollow.
  • Clutch size is usually 2-3 eggs, although 4 are not uncommon. White and lustrous in colour and round in shape, egg size is approximately 46mm x 35mm.
  • Incubation lasts approximately 24 days, with fledging occurring a further 8 to 13 weeks later.
  • Young birds remain within their parent's territory and help in defending boundaries and rearing offspring.

Surburn Kookaburras

Kookaburras have on the rare occasion exhibited defensive behaviour towards humans but the main issue seems to be their unusual habit of attacking windows or exterior surfaces of the home. In the majority of cases the offending bird is simply responding to a reflection in a window, especially tinted windows. Even fly screen covered windows are often targeted resulting in damage to window fixtures.

More unexplainable is the bird that will consistently fly at and "peck" hard surfaces such as facias on the house. We are yet to hear a plausible reason for this behaviour and would encourage anyone with a sound theory to contact us.

So what can you do to try and deter an persisent Kookaburra in your yard?

  • Remember Kookaburras are protected under Queensland State Legislation and any attempt o harm the bird is a criminal offence.
  • Avoid feeding the bird at all costs. It is already around the home due to one stimulus, you don't need to provide another one!!
  • Temporarily place a piece of shade cloth or an old sheet over the targeted window. This can be removed once the bird has left the area. Sometimes their may be more than one window of the home the animal is targeting so further exclusion may be necessary. It's a small price to pay when you consider the cost of replacement fly screens.
  • Hanging multiple strands of rope or material over windows may also help. Be sure to place them away from the window at least the same distance as the overall length of the bird. This will impair the birds flight, potentially change the image the bird is responding to and still allow for solar penetration through your window.
  • Look for obvious causes of light and shade. An overhanging branch of a tree may provide the right kind of light to cause a reflection. Simply trimming the foliage or providing additional shade may assist.

Advice & Relocation

If your best efforts of deterring the bird fail then further advice or relocation may be your last resort. Ecologically-minded advice, specialist trapping requirements, and sound translocation methods are employed by licensed professionals for effective Kookaburra relocation.

Trapping & relocation of the bird is done in accordance with requirements stipulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and permits are issued after stringent examination as to knowledge and suitability to actively manage conflict birds.

Every effort is made to ensure the birds are managed as to welfare, and to minimize any possible harm whilst being trapped, upon trapping, and through transit to a suitable release site.