(Dacelo novaeguineae)

KookaburraThis 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.