Haw haw haw.

[tapping one spindly toe]


This fine, sassy Laughing Kookaburra lives at the Henry Doorly Zoo, in Omaha.
Yep, that’d be Nebraska.



  1. Aussie birdie YAY!!!!

  2. I do love the disapproving look a Kookaburra gives.

  3. /withdrawals

  4. “Kookaburras do NOT say ‘Yay.’ Ahem.”
    “No, they do not.”
    “I can assure you, I’m in a position to know. They don’t.”
    “Right! FINE.” [grumbling]

  5. Peg of Tilling says:

    Okay, I feel properly admonished…p’rhaps we should throw another shrimp to the birdie?

  6. Kooka:”And what the heck are you looking at mate!”

  7. Positive Jube says:

    Kooka is just seeing if the snags on the barbie are properly cooked before swooping….believe me… I know about these things. Then he smiles..before laughing at you.

  8. Anything Aussie reminds me of a Tim Conway/Little Old Man & Harvey Korman skit, in which Tim was a doctor. He told Harvey his doctor’s bag was special.

    “Do you know what it’s made of?” (Harvey barely keeps it together)
    “Koooh-WAAAAAH-lah.” (Harvey loses it.)

  9. G’-diz-zay!

  10. “I’ve come to lodge a complaint with th National Bird Registry – people…an EMU??? C’mon! Now, I can make things really uncomfortable for you; believe me, you don’t want a Burra under your saddle.”

  11. Theo – yes sorry *bows head* I should’ve known better than to put inappropriate words in a kookaburras mouth i.e. “YAY”

    I guess I just got over-exited at a new post on CO and it being something from down here

  12. again, i feel the need to hate – not cute.

  13. an owl with an oversized beak.

  14. Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
    Merry merry king of the bush is he,
    Laugh, Kookaburra,
    Laugh, Kookaburra,
    Gay your life must be.

    Anybody else sing that song in Girl Scouts?

  15. He said it with a wink, Chilli. 😉

    “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
    “Eating all the gumdrops he can see
    “Laugh, Kookaburra,
    “Laugh, Kookaburra,
    “Save some gum for me!”

    (Summer camp, not Girl Scouts. Seriously.)

  16. mlle x, we were always a bit different

    Kookaburra sits on the electric wire,
    Jumping up & down with his bum on fire.

  17. The Zoo is part of the SECORE project (click the link) along with 7 other US institutions, one of which I work for. Ta da! Never thought of it as an institution. Could explain a lot. (Shifting eyes side to side.)

    Chilli – Where from?

  18. Chilli — LOL! What’s the rest of your version?

  19. I know the song AND can do a really good kookaburra laugh.
    My little talent. I talk to crows too. OK I’ll stop.

  20. pyrit – I all Aussie so claim anything native to my fantastic country

  21. I Googled Chilli’s song lyrics and there seems to be only that verse. OK Peeps – get busy!

  22. Theo re rest of the version I really can’t remember getting any further coz the leaders would frown & we’d all be roflol. Ahh the inocence *grin*

  23. We sang it in girl scouts. Rounds no less.

    Laugh Kookaburra
    Laugh Kookaburra
    Gay your life must be

  24. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  25. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  26. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  27. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  28. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  29. ka9q's wife says:

    sang both versions at summer camp. I got tossed out of girl scouts and no one needs to know why.

  30. Fine w/me, KW; I’m happy to let my imagination metastasize.

  31. Well, I am not. Care to give us a hint, ka9q’s w?

    We have to live vicariously SOMEhow!!!

  32. PS
    I love the kookaburra song….I could sing it all night long….

    *goin’ ta get some more wine*

  33. MileX – The exact same song! We even had a version in Hindi. 😉

    Of course, I quit because after one year of scouting we weren’t to a single camp and it was like a finishing school for wives-to-be and we were 11-YEAR-OLDS … ahem. Rant over.

    And yes, KW, tell us why you got tossed out. *all ears*

  34. 1. ka9q’s wife – well, I happen to know why. Small, unmarked bills, please.

    2. I don’t even know the song, but thought I’d try, anyhow:

    Kookaburra sits by the TumTum tree
    Waiting he is for the Jabberwock-ee
    Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
    Fierce your fight will be

    Kookaburra, armed with a vorpal sword
    To the fierce monster marching foward
    Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
    You’ll need help from me!

    Kookaburra did gimble in the wabe
    Hoping by this his life he’d save
    Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
    Please listen to me!

    Kookaburra reads on a rusty nail
    Involved he is in the Jabberwock’s tale
    Yay, Kookaburra! Yay, kookaburra!
    He’s not real, you see!

  35. 3 birds on one page?!?!?! Heaaaaven….I’m in heaaaaven…..CO needs more birds!!!

  36. When I was a kid in Australia we had one o’these that would come and sit on the back fence. Big and brown and with a huge grin. They eat snakes. They are great.

  37. Aubrey, I bow before greatness bravo

  38. That song is familiar. Must be from before I went into Boy Scouts (if there was a time).

  39. haha! well, i learned a couple of those verses back in elementary school. aaand another one…

    kookaburra sits on the railroad track
    along comes a train and smashes him flat.
    poor kookaburra
    poor kookaburra
    poor kookaburra
    that’s the end of that

    ::runs away::

  40. AuntieMame says:

    Mr. Burra looks distinctly disapproving. Sam the Eagle could not be more appalled, just appalled! than Mr. Burra.


  41. and aubrey, i’m once again astounded by your great verses

  42. Why don’t you just get me to take a photo of a WILD kokaburra? They’re all round my place! (Guess where I live?)

  43. Aubrey: That was absolutely frabjous!

  44. Kookaburras give more of the Nelson “HA-ha!” look.

    I was at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney back in 1988, sitting, having my lunch, minding my own beeswax, eating chips (fries) when there was a whoosh! and a flurry of something which I had no idea what it was or what had just happened to me, when I look up and on the other side of the table was a cheeky kookaburra with one of my chips in his mouf, and I know he was laughing at me. Or he did when he went back to sitting in his old gum tree.

    Bad grammar yes.
    But I’ve been to Australia. HA-ha! (j/k)

  45. ooh, yes, sam the eagle is one of my favorite disapprovers!

  46. Denise in Nebraska says:

    The Henry Doorly Zoo! In Nebraska! It’s in Omaha, just about 50 miles away from Lincoln. I go there for my birthday, often! There is a spectacular “Lied Jungle” that is huge and made to look and mimic the real jungle environment. No glass or barriers, anywhere. You walk through it, inside tunnels and rock formations under misting waterfalls….it’s very cool. This picture actually looks like it could have been taken in it (no glass, as you can see). The fact that it’s in Nebraska means I’m just that much closer to kissing it, in real life!! I loves the birdies!! Oh– and Auntie Mame, you get brownie points for bringing up Sam the Eagle!!! He was always so serious. He liked poetry, and recited it often. This laughing kookaburra looks like he’s about ready to recite some serious poetry, too. What makes them laugh, I wonder? ha, ha, ha…

  47. I love kookaburras! They look like they have steel-plated beaks! *LOL* Even though they don’t I’d still hate to get pecked by one…

    *is attacked by a moment of D&D geekery* Ooh, an Aussie-style expansion pack…Dire Kookaburras and Dire Kangaroos…cool…*wanders off to grab her d20s and Core Rules book* 😉


  48. bunnajenny says:

    Ah Chilli, that version of the song is a rite of passage! I don’t think it goes any further.

    K9W I too got kicked out, but out of Brownies…my insubordinate tendencies kicked in early.

    And…one final story from my years in the Great Southern Land.

    When we first moved Oz from the UK we were introduced to many new things, many of them of a culinary nature. While there were obvious good things, twisties, cheezls, and tim tams, there were the more peculiar, including my classmates’ favourite bolony sandwiches. In an effort to make us feel more like locals, my mum made bolony sandwiches (in Australia they’re made on white bread with tomato sauce, ie ketchup). Bolony sandwiches are without a doubt, one of the least appetizing things I’ve ever eaten…and avenues for disposing of said bolony were quickly sought. Being a naughty child (see Brownies, insubordination), I discarded my slices of bolony on to the ground a few feet from where I was sitting. Unbenknowst to me a kookaburra was watching and swooped down on this vertiable bounty. He picked them up, flew into a nearby tree and proceeded to beat the poor bolony on the tree branch. I was most confused until I learned that that’s how kookaburras kill their supper.

    Many years later, I saw a kookaburra do the very same thing to a small snake. At least we know that not all exotic meats taste like chicken 😉

  49. oh my heck! Once again, the kewt saves!

    I was just going to take a peek before I went to bed having spent all evening stressing over work stuff. And then I *had* to see what the peeps had to say about the Kooka!

    I, too, sang the Kookaburra song, (Girl Scouts? Music class?) at some point, and also a song about the Jabberwock in a choir with my sweetie (now Mr. Bad).
    Of course, I had to sing all verses posted out loud for his amusement, ‘speshly the Jabberwocky ones! (Aubrey — I’m not worthy!! And now my swee-T has to worship you too!)

  50. musicchick2 says:

    Is it just me, or does he look like he’s looking down his nose at us?

  51. Beware the Kooka, slay him with your vorpal sword (+5?)!

    Hooraay Aubrey!

  52. bunnajenny – what state did you live in?

    I’m guessing that your “Bolony” is what we in eastern NSW call “Devon,” right? My mum’s from Broken Hill (near Adelaide) and calls it “Fritz”.

    ummm, kookaburra story…
    When I was little I was visiting friends of my grandma’s. They backed onto the bush, and, after lunch, I fed the kookaburras raw mince meat from my hand. Have photos somewhere…

  53. Wow, look at al lthe versions of that song! Really cool, people!

    And, I too was kicked out of Girl Scouts… mwuhuhuhuhuhuhuh!

  54. This guy’s not all that cute. Baby kookas are cute, and for some reason always show up in threes: http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/comments/beak_gang_assembles/

  55. I live in Melbourne, Australia and when I saw a kookaburra in a cage in a German zoo, I nearly cried. I just wanted to take him home to the Aussie bush and be free.
    This birdy on C.O. is sooo sweet, but I’m too sad to think he is on the wrong side of the world and wants to go home to his mates…and sheilas.
    I also feel for the ‘exotic’ animals in our zoos here. A polar bear sunbaking in our heat is just so wrong…sorry, I’m being a sad sack.

  56. Lil – You’re right, but only partly. It’s cruel only if the creature is not used to the climate (e.g. the polar bears you mentioned.) Kooka here looks pretty healthy and content to me, it’s unlikely that the Omaha climate would be affecting him. I’m sure he’s being well looked after.

    Anyhoo, here’s a kookaburra calling: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/images/dacelo_novaguineae.mp3

  57. We had a slightly different version with ending for the Kookaburra Song Farce:

    Kookaburra sits on electric wire
    Tears in his eyes
    And his pants on fire
    Ouch Kookaburra Ouch
    Isn’t your tail hot?

    I am not sure why a Kookaburra would wear pants, but there you are.

  58. Well, this was an extremely educational thread! Thanks to all! 🙂

  59. Have you ever ever heard
    of the kookaburra bird
    the kookaburra bird
    yes, the kookaburra bird
    he’s the cutest little bird
    that you have ever ever heard,
    he’s the kook-kook
    kookaburra bird!

  60. hm…that reminds me…one of the oddest things I have seen at a zoo (besides a monkey trying to have his way with a hole in the wall…) was seagulls…in a cage. Not a cage, a sort of aviary type thing in Honolulu. Apparently they don’t get gulls down there, I never saw any, ‘cept in the zoo. Really strange considering what aggressive annoying beasts they are at the Joisey shore.

  61. Aubrey — you CONTINUE to rule. Doff o’ the Mad Hat, with a deep courtly bow.

    AuntieM — I hear Sam the American Eagle’s voice in my head, right now. He is allowing as how he might grant us cautious, conditional approval. Scout’s honor.

    Denise in NE — the Lied Jungle is indeed awesome. My fave was the real rope bridge. The MN Zoo has a really good tropical section too, but not as nice as the Lied.
    I was bummed that the “Budgie Experience” was closed, though. I mean c’mon, it fairly TAUNTED me… NO budgie for YOU, cat-boy!

    MusicChick2 — Yay! That’s exactly what I was shooting for.
    (This was a particularly accomodating Kooka, though, for my camera.)

    Pixy Misa — very nice!

  62. Lil — the Omaha zoo takes good care of this kooka (and all of its residents, in fact). Climate zones are definitely tailored to the residents. The penguin exhibit actually generates its own SNOW, for example, and lots of it.

  63. Oh, yeah, thanks _so_ much for the earworm…

    When my professional choir went on tour to Australia and New Zealand in 2001, we drove through the Blue Mountains at one point, seeing several kookaburas. Agghh… imagine the song (which I also learned in Girl Scouts) in three-part harmony, every time anybody spotted one…

  64. I just want to say yay for a picture of something from Nebraska. lol. 😉 Although I’ve been here 13 years and never gone to the HDZoo..

  65. Animals/birds from Down Under are naturally cute. May it is the weather??

  66. I can only say Aw Aw Awwww.

  67. Denise in Nebraska says:

    Jenne (also in Nebraska): You must go to the Henry Doorly Zoo! It is a huge, all-day-long-experience! Take the kids/friends/pets, etc.!! Roadtrip!! Seriously–you must. Theo: What the heck were you doing in Nebraska? I’m glad you could appreciate the Lied…I fear the rest of America thinks Nebraska is just open-spaced farmland! We are city-folk, too! Lincoln and Omaha aren’t San Francisco or Seattle, but Lincoln is–according to this year’s report–ranked the “9th happiest city in the nation”. It’s true! Laredo, TX being the first. I wonder if Laredo has a cool jungle with laughing kookaburras???? I think not.

  68. bunnajenny says:

    alivicwil, I lived in Perth, WA. Who knew such a vile food had so many different names.

  69. LOL Denise in NE.. I am near Ainsworth and it *IS* open-spaced farmland here! 😉 But yes, I agree with you.. there is population in NE.. you just have to know where to go to find it 😉 Will get to the zoo someday I’m sure..

  70. I love kookaburras. I love their crazy call. They have a kookaburra at the National Zoo in DC who didn’t like the looks of my boyfriend and yelled at him. 🙂

  71. Denise in Nebraska–don’t worry, I can’t even count the myriad times I had to explain to my Mom’s Missouri family that:

    No, not all Texans wear ten-gallon hats and cowboy boots…

    …no, they don’t all own 300-acre ranches and longhorns and ride horses to the grocery store…

    …not every native Texan is a screaming fan of country music / the University of Texas / the Aggies / food that will blister every square inch of your intestinal tract as it passes through…

    …nor is the entirety of the Lone Star State one big scrub desert. In fact, Texas has the greatest variety of terrain found in one US state.

    As bad as it gets for me sometimes, I feel sorry for folks from Canada being expected to live on bear meat, maple syrup, and beer…or everyone from California who is expected to be a big-chested tan-skinned movie star!


  72. Alicia/neonkittens says:

    yay! Henry Doorly Zoo! I am proudly from Nebraska, and can say that I have probably seen this little cutie in real life. :), Now I want to go back and see him again! 🙂

  73. I heard the kookaburra song on Barney. We never sang it in girl scouts now Im sad

  74. I know that bird! And that zoo! Hooray for our zoo! 😀

    (I think I had something more to say, but that’s all that came out)


  75. ceebs, you have had some very interesting experiences thus far in your life.

    More travel journals! More travel journals! Do any of them contain stories of a monkey doing a hole in a wall?

  76. “I feel sorry for folks from Canada being expected to live on bear meat, maple syrup, and beer…”

    It’s okay, maple syrup is practically a food group in and of itself. We even have maple varieties of ppular chocolate bars up here. I’ll be sending some to friends now living in the US for Christmas.

  77. *SLOBBER* Maple chocolate bars?! *DROOL* I think I just sprained a salivary gland! Maple syrup is an expensive splurge item ’round these parts–Mrs. Butterworth’s Telephone Pole Syrup reigns supreme.

    So what do I have to do to get you to send some to a Texan maple fanatic, huh? huh? huh? Any particular Texan culinary favorite you’ve been partial to…? Trade of goods perhaps?


  78. Great face on that kooka!! I was laughed at by some at a wildlife preserve in the Blue Mountains when we were there for the Olympics (can’t remember the name).

    mmmm…maple sugar candy!! My dad’s from Massachusetts and we got maple sugar candy every year when we went up there for Thanksgiving!

    And about the seagulls in Joisey…there are a ton around where I live (Morris county) where there isn’t an ocean in site – how odd is that?!

  79. Tammie in Nebraska says:

    The Henry Doorly is one of the bestest zoos in the entire world. I know this cause my niece’s 5 year old son told me so.

  80. ok, i had something to say, i just know it…. one thing is that i played tho kookoo-kall and my cat started freaking out! (where is it?!?! i hear it, but can’t see it!!) what else was i gonna say…now i gotta read everything again. of course, i had to sing EVERY one of these songs outloud, but everybody left so as not to hear me. and did sum1 say maple chocolate????? ooh, pick me! i go up to Canada a lot to visit my godmother (she told me acout this site, you know) and i’ve never heard of it…i’ll have to check when i go up for the new year.

  81. and Laurie C, am i one of those friends? lol

  82. useta hada kitteh says:

    kookaburra sits in an old gum tree
    singing lots of earworms (hee hee hee)
    Stop, kookaburra, Stop! Kookaburra!
    Let those earworms be…

    Not too good, but I had to say something about the earworm…in my 5th grade teacher’s voice…ending with
    Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree
    Counting all the monkeys he can see
    Stop, Kookaburra, Stop, Kookaburra,
    That’s not a monkey, that’s (substitute name of kid in class…)

    Are there really monkeys in Oz for the Kooka to count?

    I’ve never encountered a maple flavored (flavoured) chocolate bar — maybe it’s an Eastern Canada thing?

  83. One of the maple bars:
    http://www.cadbury.ca/page.cfm?id=B173C031-327E-4743-8E4A-5576DC7E12BE (scroll down a little for the maple version)

    D2D – re a food exchange – why yes, there are a couple of US snacks I like that I can’t get up here. E-mail me and we’ll talk…

  84. Mia—regarding seagulls—dang, I can’t remmebr exactly but all gulls are not sea gulls. That’s why you see them at dumps and inland.

    Lauri–no travel journals about the monkeys…that was a very busy day at that zoo. That monkey (I think it was a chimp)was all kinds of diddlin’ himself & the wall, and then there was another place where you could hear the other monkeys inside(I don’t know what they were, they never made it outside) tewtally doin it. I was starting to feel like maybe it was Zoo porn day!

  85. Zoon porn day? They should charge extra admission for that.

  86. Denise in Nebraska: We (Theo, me, the two teens) were visiting an aunt of mine for Thanksgiving. She lives just outside Omaha, and she’d been sounding lonely.

  87. I had to play that song in band.

  88. Rich Fader says:

    I think we have a new O RLY? bird…although I seriously considered an alternate caption:


  89. Why is Australia always so stereo typed? It is starting to cheese me off (in the awesome words of my geog teacher). I noticed on the pic it was called the “laughing kookaburra” why can’t it just be called kookaburra? Its the same as calling koalas “koala Bears”. Haven’t you heard the song?

    Oh well thats my complaining done (except on Americans trying to do aussie accents – dont get me started on that). At school there is a kooky who comes and sits on the ag plot back fence and we walk up to it and give it worms from our plots. But they are the most stupid bird on the planet – honestly

  90. musicchick2 says:

    Pixy Misa – Awww…they’re so cute and fluffy!

    Subhangi…thanks for the audio link. VERY distinctive voice. Almost sounds like primates laughing hysterically!

    Theo – LOL! Yes, he seems to be exceptionally long-suffering as he waits for the Kooka-razzi to get the shot!

    Denita2D – “Mrs. Butterworth’s Telephone Pole Syrup” …???? Is this a regional delicacy? Or did that just fly right over my head? *dumb blonde stare*

  91. NebraskaErin says:

    Yay! I saw this disapproving little guy just a couple weeks ago when I took my niece and nephew to the Omaha zoo! The zoo is amazing. The jungle was my favorite exhibit until this last time when we went through Kingdoms of the Night below the Desert Dome. It’s freakin’ awesome. Thought it might scare the kiddoes, since they’re just itty bitty, but they loved it.

    Denise – Are you a Lincolnite, too?!

  92. The very highly esteemed Professor Birdacus prepares to give a lecture.

  93. Hey, I have a profile shot of this guy too… here ’tis:
    (Note — it’s a HUGE, unprocessed photo.)

  94. Brak_Silverbone says:

    When I was like 12, and very skinny, I went to the Seattle Zoo. I was wearing a sun visor, and when I went into the aviary, a stork of some sort decided to attack the front of the glass–he thought I was another bird! And I offended the kookaburra, for he looked at me–he was perched on a branch, just like this one–and fluffed himself up and **glared!**

  95. I have to make a comment on the zoo comment that was made earlier and that it made a person sad to see them in the zoo. I tend to agree with that, however, I also think of the utmost care and concern zoos have towards the inhabitants. The vet care, food, accomodations, and detailed care for these animals. Yes, it true that the wild is morethan likely the ideal place for an animal but I feel as though these animals are there are a higher purpose to educate the future of the needs/beauty/education that each and every animal gives to a Zoo visitor.

  96. wow, this bird is deeply disturbed, or maybe the cameramen is disturbING??

    nevermore, nevermore

  97. iloveusame:) says:

    we shall not forget that we are about something else here…