Featherdale Wildlife Park - Sydney Australia

Sydney’s Hands-On Wildlife Experience

Kingfisher

KINGFISHERS

Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

facts and figures

KINGDOM

Animalia

PHYLUM

Chordata

CLASS

Aves

ORDER

Coraciiformes

FAMILY

Halcyonidae

GENUS

Dacelo

SPECIES

novaeguineae

Conservation Status

Species status information sourced from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Did you know?

  • The kookaburra is the world's largest kingfisher.

  • Older brothers and sisters help out with caring for the chicks

  • Derivation: Dacelo (anagram of alcedo)= kingfisher;  novaeguineae= of New Guinea

  • Also called Giant Kingfisher, Laughing Jackass and Settler’s/ Bushman’s Clock

Kookaburra

Description

Famous for their territorial and communicative ‘laugh’, the Laughing Kookaburra is an iconic Australian species, approximately 40-48cm in size. There are 2 subspecies of Laughing Kookaburra: D.n.novaeguineae and D.n.minor. In both species, adult males have white wing patches in flight and a large bill which is black above and ivory below. They have a dark eye stripe, and a large pale head with brown spots and crown patch. The back and wings are brown, with pale blue mottling on the wings. The rump is often blue, and the tail is barred rufous-brown and black, edged with white, and plain white below. In subspecies D.n.minor, adult males are smaller. In adult females, the rump is brown or pale blue, and the head is more buff.


Habitat

Laughing Kookaburras inhabit open forests and woodlands, preferring tall trees with hollows.


Diet

Laughing Kookaburras are carnivorous, feeding on small reptiles, insects, crabs and fish, as well as other birds from nests and chickens.


Social organisation and Reproduction

Laughing Kookaburras are very territorial and sedentary, usually living in small family groups which co-operate in raising young and protecting territory. Pairs are generally monogamous, breeding from September-December. Nests are usually in a tree hollow, termite nest chamber or in an earthen bank. Females lay 2-4 white eggs and both parents will incubate and raise the chicks.

Forest Kingfisher

Todiramphus macleayii

facts and figures

KINGDOM

Animalia

PHYLUM

Chordata

CLASS

Aves

ORDER

Coraciiformes

FAMILY

Alcedinidae

GENUS

Todiramphus

SPECIES

macleayii

Lc_Status

Species status information sourced from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Did you know?

  • Derivation: macleayii= W. S. Macleay, naturalist, a notable figure in NSW natural history

  • Also called Macleay Kingfisher, Bush Kingfisher and Blue Kingfisher

Kingfisher (2)

Description

Forest Kingfishers are a magnificent species, 18-21cm in size. There are 2 subspecies: T.m.macleayi and T.m.incinctus.Adult males have white wing spots in flight, a black upper bill and pale lower bill, a white spot before each eye, and a broad, black stripe running from bill to ear coverts. The head, wings and tail are rich blue and the back and rump are a less brilliant blue. The throat, collar and underparts are white, and the belly and flanks may be washed buff.Adult females have an incomplete white collar. In subspecies T.m.incinctus, adult females have a turquoise back and a smaller wing spot.


Habitat

Forest Kingfishers inhabit coastal open forests, wooded swamps, mangroves and woodlands. They favour watercourse vegetation, and require forests and woodlands for breeding.


Diet

Forest Kingfishers are carnivorous, feeding on large insects, small lizards, fish and crabs. Once prey is caught, the Forest Kingfisher will repeatedly hit it against a branch or long to kill and soften it.


Social organisation and Reproduction

Forest Kingfishers are a territorial species, especially during the breeding season of October-December. Once a pair has formed, the male and female will take turns flying directly at a nest site, using their bill to chip away at the area, until a nest chamber is formed. Nests are usually made in a hollowed-out termites nest on a tree, at between 2-25m from the ground. Females will lay4-5 white, rounded eggs, and both parents will incubate. Often offspring from previous seasons will assist in incubation and feeding. Both parents will vigorously protect their nesting site, with males usually perched on a branch.