Definition of kookaburra in US English:



  • A very large Australasian kingfisher that feeds on terrestrial prey such as reptiles and birds.

    Genus Dacelo, family Alcedinidae: two species, the laughing kookaburra (D. gigas or D. novaeguineae), which has a loud cackling call, and the blue-winged kookaburra (D. leachii)

    • ‘Some pairs of kingfishers call in duets, and cooperative groups of kookaburras call in a chorus at dawn and dusk.’
    • ‘Elsewhere in the valley you might see other birds as fantastic as their names: gang-gangs, king parrots, satin bowerbirds, laughing kookaburras, and lyre-birds that dance in clearings with tails fanned out like peacocks.’
    • ‘A kookaburra flies between the clusters of trees with buoyant, floating wing beats.’
    • ‘First, kookaburras breed in nuclear family groups where a monogamous pair are assisted by up to six offspring-helpers.’
    • ‘Sitting beneath fans of ferns, perfect natural sunshades, we were joined within minutes by two laughing kookaburras, a rosella and a yellow-breasted robin.’
    • ‘There's a kookaburra outside my window as I'm writing today.’
    • ‘Early in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the long, raucous call of an Australian kookaburra rings out in the Americas, but Budney appreciates it as homage to the corny roots of jungle-adventure movies.’
    • ‘And then it started to pour down rain, so I trudged back to my car like some wild-eyed prophet, taunted by the laughing kookaburras as I passed them.’
    • ‘With its kangaroos and kookaburras, and leg-of-mutton sleeves and button boots, this is a timeless story about the warmth of family.’
    • ‘The yammering kookaburra, usually so talkative, was silent, for he too was fast asleep.’
    • ‘The mascots at the Summer 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, were a platypus named Syd, an echidna called Millie, and a kookaburra called Olly.’
    • ‘Maybe that's what started the kookaburra laughing.’
    • ‘Here and there the raucous laughter of the kookaburra seemed to mock our attempt.’
    • ‘I'd never seen so many kookaburras in one place.’
    • ‘From flying foxes to laughing kookaburras and live crocodiles, they'll meet elements of nature that, for many people, are worlds away from Baltimore.’
    • ‘So the cassowaries, kookaburras, koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles and wallabies that one goes to Australia in the hope of seeing are all there.’
    • ‘I didn't know what they were, but I wondered if they might be a species of kookaburra.’
    • ‘Other birds include a huge American bald eagle called Liberty, buzzards, Harris hawks, vultures, laughing kookaburras and a pelican.’
    • ‘And I thought it was all cuddly wombats, koalas and kookaburras.’
    • ‘In a broader survey of this population of kookaburras, the youngest nestling in broods of three was killed in one third of nests.’


Late 19th century: from Wiradhuri gugubarra.