Hear a Kookaburra Sound or Laugh: What It Sounds Like and Why They Do It

Written by Larissa Smith
Updated: July 17, 2023
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Kookaburra is a type of bird that is native to Australia, belonging to the Kingfisher family. These birds are known for their loud, laugh-like calls often heard during the day. The extensive range of calls includes guttural calls, hiccuping chuckles, and even coordinated laughing choruses with other Kookaburras.

They are territorial birds, and their distinctive white or cream-colored bodies and black tails make them easy to spot.

This article will discuss the Kookaburra sound or laugh, what it sounds like, and why they make those sounds.

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Kookaburra Laughing at Brookfield Zoo.

What Is the Kookaburra’s Sound?

The kookaburra’s sound is a distinctive and well-known feature of Australian wildlife. It is known for its loud and unmistakable laugh, echoing through the trees in the early morning or evening.

Experts discovered that the laughing call is not just a single sound but a range of calls, each with its own purpose and meaning. For example, Kookaburras use the call to establish territory and communicate with other family groups. In addition, they use the laughing sounds to coordinate the behavior of family units and defend against rival tribes.

Other calls in the kookaburra’s range include the “go-go” or female’s call, the guttural call, and the Tarzan vocalization. The Tarzan vocalization is a unique and extraordinary sound only made in certain circumstances, such as during trapeze or circular flights. This vocalization is thought to be a display of strength and agility and is used to impress potential mates or establish dominance among birds in the area.

Blue-winged kookaburra close-up.

The laugh or sound of a kookaburra is distinct and makes its noises for a reason.


Time of Day the Laughing Chorus Is Heard Most Often

You can hear the laughing chorus of the kookaburra at dawn and dusk. These hours mark the beginning and end of the day when Kookaburras are most active in their natural habitat. During these periods, the birds are usually awake and alert, and their calls signal their inclination to hunt and defend their territory.

It is said that their guttural calls can be heard miles away. So as a tourist to Australia, hearing the kookaburra laughing chorus from afar is an extraordinary experience!

The Agriculture Protection Board of Western Australia protect kookaburras, and they recognize the bird’s significant role in the ecosystem.

Final Thoughts

The kookaburra is an amazing species with unique features and behaviors, making it a fascinating bird to observe in its natural habitat. So if you’re visiting Australia for the first time, keep your ears open for the sounds of the laughing kookaburra!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Paulpixs/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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