Blue-winged Kookaburra

The Kookaburra is a stunning kingfisher found in northern and eastern Australia, the island of New Guinea and on Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia. Not only they look unusual with their comparatively large heads and contrasting feather colours, their call genuinly resembles loud human laughter. In fact, one of the four known species is commonly referred to as Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). There are also Rufous-bellied Kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud) and Spangled Kookaburra (Dacelo tyro). They are carnivorous birds that feed on mice and other similar-sized mammals, lizards and larger insects. And apparently they are capable on taking on even snakes, venomous or otherwise, which are often much longer than themselves!

I photographed this gorgeous Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii), pictured below, in the aviary at the Cairns Tropical Zoo, Australia. The bird was obviously accustomed to human presence and made no attempt to fly away even as we approached it very closely. However, when we tried to touch it, the Kookaburra would indicate its disapproval by opening its respectable-size beak and threatening to inflict a painful bite to our fingers. We respected the animal’s objections, especially as it had no problems with being photographed from such a close range. I took several pictures, but I liked this one most as it emphasises the bird’s large head relative to its body. Plus, its open beak gave the this feathered creature a somewhat comical look.

 

Kookaburra

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