I’m on a family trip to Australia at the moment. It’s not a dedicated birding trip, but I’m picking up a few good ones. One surprising bird encounter was with one of Australia’s most iconic birds, the Laughing Kookaburra. This large member of the kingfisher family is a familiar sight… and sound, in Australia’s countryside and city. In this instance we were at a family event being hosted on a golf course in north Sydney. I had bins, but no camera beyond that available on my phone. Luckily that wasn’t an issue in this case. Maybe the iPhone 10 will have x83 telephoto zoom as standard, but for now enjoy these kookaburra close ups!The Laughing Kookaburra!

My what a large bill for killing reptiles you have

Watching for prey

Noisy Miners (behind) are not fans

Notice the trace of blue on the wing

Golf course bird

Close up action! (Photograph by my father)


Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.