Blue-winged Kookaburra

Dacelo leachii


other names

Leach's Kookaburra and Howling Jackass


Adults: 380 to 400mm in length, including 60-70mm bill. Head feathers off-white, streaked with brown (can vary from light to dark streaks). Mantle and scapulars mid-brown. Lower back and rump glistening sky-blue. Shoulder coverts entirely sky-blue. Tail has a white tip, with remainder mid blue in males and and blue and brown in females. Eye colour is creamy white. Bill is dark brown upper and cream under. Feet pale olive colour. Female is paler in colour and slightly larger.

Juveniles: As per female but paler in colour.

Voice: Six or seven short calls varying from sharp "ow" to pronounced trill. Cacophony of rapid, high pitched coughing cackles, usually sung in chorus.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra can be found in the eucalyptus forests of coastal and subcoastal northern Australia. Two races, one large and white headed can be found in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the other small race which darkly streaked head can be found from the Kimberleys in Western Australia to Toowoomba. It can also be found in New Guinea. It prefers a wetter habitat to its closest relative, the Laughing Kookaburra. Ranges for the Blue-winged Kookaburra and the Laughing Kookaburra do overlap especially in places where good hunting can be found, although they do maintain mutually exclusive land rights. Breeding season is from September to January. Nest is a hollow tree cavity, sometimes in termite mounds. One to four eggs are laid. Incubation is about 23 to 24 days by members of the family. Young are fed by the group. Fledging is about five weeks.

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