Springtime is no laughing matter for kookaburra chicks as they fight for survival in the family nest.
By Rachel Sullivan
King of the bush: laughing kookaburras are iconic Australians (Source: iStockphoto)
Audio: Laughing kookaburra call
The kookaburra’s familiar laugh is taking on a softer, more intimate note as the spring breeding season gets into full swing. But their cheery call and rich family life also hide a darker side: in a grim battle for resources hatchlings fight to the death, watched over by their mother.
The largest members of the kingfisher family, kookaburras are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australia is home to two of the four species: the colourful northern blue-winged kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) which is found in the country’s north, as far south as Broome on the west coast and Brisbane on the east; and the iconic laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), which is found all along the east coast, from the Eyre Peninsula to Cape York.