Thursday, January 10, 2013

MEGAFAUNA - Laughing Kookaburra with 30cm long tail



MEGAFAUNA MEANS REALLY LARGE. However, it seems that some species of birds are getting larger and during the month of December 2012 I have seen 3 individuals of 3 separate species that are larger than normal. This post is about my third sighting - of a Laughing Kookaburra individual.

This particular Kookaburra was first observed flying across my neighbour Carol's paddock in a south-east to north-west direction then landed in the Pine tree near where I was standing. The time and date observed is displayed on the photos themselves. It sat on a low branch about 6-7 feet above the ground. The bird landed in the tree about 20 feet from where I stood. It was alone and seemed to be avoiding other kookaburras in the area. It was silent never making even one cackle. It flew very low to the ground as it flew across the paddock, no higher than 10 feet off the ground.

I had to look twice at this bird as it was exceptionally long from head to tail. When I first saw this bird I didn't know what it was so I started taking photos of it and realised it was a Laughing Kookaburra. The kookaburra in flight had an exceptionally long tail (tail feathers) that were around 30cm in length. The local Kookaburras don't have that long a tail which made me think it wasn't a Laughing Kookaburra at first.

I did not want to make the kookaburra fly away by getting closer to it - which is what I would've had to do to get a photo of it's tail. The kookaburra only just flew into the tree and I did not want to scare it as it seemed pretty relaxed with me nearby just watching it. It did keep looking at me though. I was with my daughter and Carol's dog. The Kookaburra may have been keeping an eye on Carol's dog rather than me.

I have not seen this particular kookaburra before so I can safely say that it is from a nearby area, and possibly looking for a mate as it is not a juvenile. As it was silent and seemed to be avoiding other kookaburras this tells me it may possibly be a male. The local kookaburra family were about a kilometre or two away in an east to slightly south-east direction when these photos were taken.

I was in the right place at the right time for this kookaburra to show up and get these photos. The kookaburra sat there in the tree barely without moving for at least 10 minutes before I moved on.

The strange thing about all of this is not the kookaburra itself rather the length of it's tail. I have never seen a kookaburra with a exceptionally long tail, or any bird with an exceptionally long tail or body, and this was the third sighting of evolution in the making in one week. First a grey butcherbird, then a male Australian King Parrot and now a Laughing Kookaburra.

How widely spread (in New South Wales) this is with Laughing Kookaburras getting bigger is unknown right now. I have not read anything yet about Australian native birds getting bigger or smaller. Am I the first to record this phenomenon? Maybe this is a nearby local adaption to the weather and environment due to the ongoing drought?

I can't wait to see the offspring of this kookaburra to see how big they grow! I just hope this kookaburra stays in the area.

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