What do they look like? The Blue-winged Kookaburra is around 40 cm long, has light-coloured eyes, no dark eye-mask, and blue wing feathers.
Where do they live? Blue-winged Kookaburra’s are restricted to southern New Guinea and wet areas of northern Australia, through to Southern Queensland. Unusually for close relatives, the Laughing and Blue-winged species are direct competitors in areas where their ranges overlap. This suggests that the two species, though having common stock, evolved in isolation.
What do they eat? Kookaburras are very large terrestrial kingfishers. Kookaburras hunt much as other kingfishers- by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by: mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and most famously, snakes. Small prey are preferred, but kookaburras frequently take surprisingly large creatures, including venomous snakes a good deal longer than the bird itself.
Behaviour: Kookaburras are best known for their unmistakable call which is uncannily like loud, echoing human laughter. Kookaburras occupy woodland territories in loose family groups, and their laughter serves the same purpose as a great many other bird calls: to demarcate territorial borders.
Reproduction: Kookaburras begin their breeding cycle in October, the Australian spring. Courtship includes vocalizations and conspicuous display flights high over the treetops. Once a pair selects a breeding territory they begin nest construction. They will also utilise hollow trees, earthen banks, and even holes in walls when better sites are unavailable. to four white eggs are laid on the bare substrate of the nest chamber. Both parents participate in the 25-29 day incubation. Hatchlings emerge blind and practically naked. The eyes may not open completely until the bird is nearly 3 weeks old. Parents feed the young a diet consisting primarily of insects, as they remain within the burrow for a full month. When they finally are coaxed from the nest they are already able to fly. The parents continue to feed the fledglings for several weeks after they emerge from the nest. The birds will remain together as a family group until the next breeding season begins.
Threats: Destruction of habitat do to land clearing and fire is one major threat to blue-winged kookaburras. When humans use pesticides to kill insects they end up poisoning the animals who generally feed on those pests. When food is in short supply, kookaburras use some of their fat store and high concentrates of chemicals may flow into their blood.
Conservation Status: Endangered