This largest and most unusual of the kingfishers (17 inches)
is also known as the Australian Laughing Jackass. The bird's
cry is a discordant, abrupt laugh, said to be even more
startling than the hyena's (especially heard early in the morning).
As a rule, the kookaburra does not catch fish, feeding instead
on crabs, large insects, mice, rats and reptiles. During the
nesting season of small birds, the kookaburra often robs their
nests. Not all the kingfishers of the Old World are "fishers"
in the literal sense of the word; in fact, many of them have
feeding habits similar to the kookaburra's.
The laughing jackass is rather pleasantly patterned in brown
over most of its body, the wings are spotted grey-blue. A white
band separates the nead from the body, there is a dark stripe
through the eye, the underparts are white and the strong bill
is blackish. It nests in hollow trees or in termite nests.