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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

Husbandry

Captive breeding

  • Parent kookaburras in captivity normally raise only one chick per pair each year, even though 2 or 3 eggs are usually laid (Wexler 2012)
  • Hand-rearing has been successful for captive birds in zoos (Smith 1977)
  • A constant temperature of 30°C (86°F) is needed for captive chicks
  • Mice, day-old chicks, pieces of beef, small rats, sparrows, mealworms can be fed to captive kookaburras (Giles 1994)
  • Stressed kookaburras will regurgitate a meal, even several hours after eating (Giles 1994)
    • When feeding rescued kookaburras, canned dog food can be used as emergency rations, but only for 24 hours
  • When feeding rescued kookaburras, place food well back in mouth so they can swallow; their tongues are quite short (Giles 1994)
    • Birds under 3 months of age with short, all-black beaks require hand-feeding
  • Usually not kept in aviaries with other birds it can eat (Giles 1994)
  • Kookaburras placed into aviaries with already established kookaburras will likely be attacked and killed (Giles 1994)
  • Since laughter is a social behavior, kookaburras don't normally laugh if alone in captivity (Giles 1994)

Ambassador for Australia

Laughing Kookaburra at San Diego Zoo

Guests meeting a Laughing Kookaburra at the San Diego Zoo..

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Giles (1994)
Smith (1977)
Wexler (2012)

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