For my last posting about my 2011 return to Australia I offer a miscellany of birds (and other things) from the woodlands around Brisbane - starting with another look at Australia's most iconic bird (well, I think so) and ending with one that means a great deal to me.
Even if you do not find the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguinae) iconic, I hope you will agree that it is entertaining! This young bird did not seem the least concerned about being stalked by an eager ornithologist - Australians are, after all, a laid-back lot.
Even adult Kookaburras do not seem particularly perturbed by a human presence. I suspect they know that, being the world's largest kingfishers and fairly aggressive characters in their own right, there is not much able to take them on.
Their territorial call, the famous 'laugh', used to be a standard background noise in Hollywood jungle movies, despite the fact that this species of kookaburra at least is neither tropical nor a haunter of jungles (the other three species of Dacelo, one in northern Australia and two in New Guinea and surrounding islands, are indeed tropical or subtropical birds, as is their peculiar New Guinea cousin the Shovel-billed Kookaburra (Clytoceyx rex), a bird with a broad spade- shaped bill that it uses, among other things, to dig up earthworms).
Rayed Blue (Candalides heathi).