Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

4 January 2016

Birds of Prey. Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), Harris's hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)

Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family Halcyonidae. The name is derived from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call which sounds like echoing human laughter. The birds are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water. Native to eastern Australia, they spread to parts of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Western Australia. The characteristic laughter serves to mark territorial borders. Most species of kookaburras tend to live in family units, with offspring helping the parents hunt and care for the next generation of offspring. Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous and hunt by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by. Common prey include mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and even snakes, including venomous snakes much longer than their bodies. They can also snatch goldfish from garden ponds.
Chicks have a hook on the upper mandible, which disappears by the time of fledging. If there isn’t enough food, the chicks will quarrel, with the hook being used as a weapon, and the smallest chick may even be killed by its larger siblings. If food is plentiful, the parent birds spend more time brooding the chicks, so the chicks are not able to fight.

Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)
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