Laughing Kookaburra

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Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae

Laughing Kookaburra, originally uploaded by Dave Walsh Photography.

Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae, at Tom Groggins, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia.

Now, I’m sure there’s gonna be Australians who wonder why I’m posting such a common bird, but I’m very taken with them. I saw lots of kookaburras while in Australia, but these are my favourite images of what is essentially a huge kingfisher with attitude.

My first encounter was in 2007, a few days after arriving in Australia for my first visit. I was staying at a house in the New South Wales bush, sleeping with only the screen door separating me from the outside world.

In what seemed like the middle of the night I *seemed* to awake to what sounded like a mad person laughing racously in my room, or perhaps even in my head. Maybe I was still asleep. The fright caused me to levitate a good half metre above the mattress.

It was the dawn chorus, lead by at least a brace of kookaburras.

And here’s what they sound like:

Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae
Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.