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Blue Winged Kookaburra ( Male )

Dacelo leachii


The Blue-winged Kookaburra is a large kingfisher with a big square head and a long bill. It has a distinctive pale eye. The head is off-white with brown streaks, the shoulders are sky blue and it has a uniform blue rump.The throat is plain white and the underparts are white with faint scalloped orange-brown bars.The back is mid brown. Males have a dark blue tail while females' tails are barred red-brown or blackish. Otherwise the sexes are similar. The legs and feet are grey and the bill is dark above and yellowish below. Juveniles have paler streaks on the head with darker mottlings. There is slight geographical variation with plumage more buff in north-western Australia (race clifoni). The Blue-winged Kookaburra is also known as the Barking or Howling Jackass or Leach's Kookaburra. As they are shy and often quiet in the foliage they may be overlooked.


Blue-winged Kookaburras are found in tropical and subtropical open woodlands, paperbark swamps, timber on watercourses, clearings, canefields and farmlands.


Feeding: Blue-winged Kookaburras eat a wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates. They consume mainly insects, reptiles and frogs in the wetter months, and fish, crayfish, scorpions, spiders, snakes, earthworms and small birds and mammals at other times. After a controlled dive with their bill open, food is grabbed from the ground. The bill has a special groove near the end of the upper mandible which helps in holding prey. After returning to a perch, the prey is beaten and then swallowed. They show extra care when snakes are the prey. Pellets of undigested items are regurgitated and found beneath daytime perches, roosting sites and nests. Breeding: The nest site of the Blue-winged Kookaburra is mostly high (to about 25 m) up in natural tree hollows, sometimes in tree termite nests, or in a hole cut into the soft wood of a baobab tree. Typically, the floor of the chamber is lower than the entrance, with an overall length of 50 cm. The breeding pair share the incubation of the eggs and subsequent feeding, which extends for one to two months, and are often assisted by auxiliaries (helpers), mainly from the previous year's clutch.

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58 Comments (1–25)

angpeace 4 years ago

Thank you so much!!!!

MacChristiansen 4 years ago

That would be fine Angie

angpeace 4 years ago

Hi! My name is Angie Peace, and I am an emerging natural science artist in North Bend, Washington, USA. My cousin has commissioned me to do a blue-winged kookaburra and I am wondering if you would allow me to use one of your photographs as a reference photo for my drawing. If so, would you be willing to share a higher resolution photo with me? If you'd like to see examples of my work, my portfolio can be viewed at Thanks so much in advance; beautiful work!!!


MacChristiansen 9 years ago

Thanks SukanyaDatta

SukanyaDatta 9 years ago

Fantastic shot!

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Thanks Yuko

YukoChartraw 10 years ago

What a beautiful series! He is gorgeous!

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Thanks Kerry

KerryHawkins 10 years ago

He's so beautiful

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Thanks AndreaLim

AndreaLim 10 years ago

Great series of photos !

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Thanks Stephen

StephenSolomons 10 years ago

very nice kookaburra

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Thanks Two Cans

MaryL 10 years ago

Wow! Congrats on the spotting of the day.

MacChristiansen 11 years ago

Added information

MacChristiansen 11 years ago

Thanks Aakash, the camera I use is an Olympus E620

JivaniAakash 11 years ago

@Mac Can you please tell us which camera do you use??

JivaniAakash 11 years ago

Great clear spottings!! Just fabulous

KuheliBD 11 years ago


MacChristiansen 11 years ago

Thanks to all for your comments on this spotting.

LisaPowers 11 years ago

Very cool spotting! Congrats on your SOTD!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 11 years ago

Congratulations on your SOTD.

crobin 11 years ago

Simply great

alicelongmartin 11 years ago

Fantastic Series!!

Spotted by

QLD, Australia

Spotted on Jul 13, 2012
Submitted on Jul 13, 2012

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