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Blue-winged Kookaburra

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-06-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/4, 1/800 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-06-23 6:26
Viewed: 4838
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii, is a large species of kingfisher native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea.

Measuring around 40 cm, it is slightly smaller than the more familiar Laughing Kookaburra. It has cream-coloured upper- and underparts barred with brownish markings. It has blue wings and brown shoulders and blue rump. It is sexually dimorphic, with a blue tail in the male, and a rufous tail with blackish bars in the female.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra was first collected by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770, but was initially overlooked and confused with the Laughing Kookaburra, and was finally officially described by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield in 1826, its specific name commemorating the British zoologist William Elford Leach. It is one of four members of the genus Dacelo which are commonly known as kookaburras. Alternative common names include Barking or Howling Jackass, or Leach's Kookaburra.
The number of subspecies is unclear - with four recognised by most authorities, although others have proposed the three Australian subspecies gradually change across Australia and should be treated as one.
• D. leachii leachii is the nominate subspecies, found from Brisbane to Broome.
• D. leachii cervina is found on Melville Island and the adjacent mainland.
• D. leachii cliftoni is found in the Pilbara and Hamersley regions of northwestern Australia.
• D. leachii intermedia is found in southern New Guinea.

The adult Blue-winged Kookaburra measures around 38 to 42 cm in length and weighs 260 to 330 g. Compared to the related Laughing Kookaburra, it is smaller, lacks a dark mask, has more blue in the wing, and striking white eye. It has a heavier bill than its larger relative. The head and underparts are cream-coloured with brownish streaks. It is sexually dimorphic, with a blue tail in the male, and a rufous tail with blackish bars in the female. Immature birds have more prominent brown bars and marks in their plumage, giving a 'dirty' appearance, and their eyes are predominantly brown for the first two years of life.
The call has been described as a maniacal cackling or barking.

Distribution and habitat
The Blue-winged Kookaburra has a distribution from southern New Guinea and the moister parts of northern Australia, to the vicinity of Brisbane in southern Queensland across the Top End, and as far down the Western Australian coast as the Shark Bay area. However, it does not occur between Broome and Port Hedland in northwestern Australia. Widespread and common throughout its large range, the Blue-winged Kookaburra is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Found in family groups of up to 12 individuals, it lives in open savannah woodland and Melaleuca swamps, as well as farmlands such as sugar cane plantations.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra hunts and eats a great variety of animals that live on or close to the ground. In the summer wet season, insects, lizards and frogs make up a higher proportion of their diet, while they eat arthropods such as crayfish, scorpions, spiders, fish, earthworms, small birds and rodents at other times. They have even been recorded waiting for and snatching insects flushed out by bushfires.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra is a cooperative breeder, a group being made up of a breeding pair and one or more helper birds who help raise the young. Breeding occurs once a year in late spring (September to December). The nest is a hollow high up in a tree, often 25 m. or so above the ground. Three or four white slightly shiny eggs measuring 44 x 35 mm or a little larger are laid. The female incubates the eggs for around 26 days, and nestlings spend another 36 days in the nest before fledging. Chicks are born pink, blind and naked, and break their way out of the egg with an egg tooth on the bill. Feathers appear by seven days and their eyes open from the tenth day onwards. Kookaburra babies are often highly aggressive in the first week of life, and the youngest chick is often killed by the older chicks during this period. Once fledged, juvenile birds need to be taught how to hunt by their parents for a further 6-10 weeks before they can properly fend for themselves.

The Red Goshawk and Rufous Owl prey upon the Blue-winged Kookaburra. Adult birds are also slow flyers and vulnerable to being hit by cars on country roads. Nests are susceptible to raids by Olive Pythons, quolls and goannas.

Source: Wikipedia

I made a mistake about the ID. Thanks to Nigel (Merlin) for the right ID.

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Critiques [Translate]

That's a gorgeous picture of this interesting bird, Peter. The bird's head is turned, so the dorsal POV gives us the best of its plumage and face.
Thanks for sharing this prize picture.

Hello Peter,

An excellent close-up of this Kookaburra with beautiful coloration, sharpness & pose. Very well composed & presented with a nice POV.

Well done & TFS!

Best wishes


Hi Peter,

A very good shot, showing the plumage and the very powerful beak in good detail, colours are true to nature. Good pose with head sideways on allowing us a good view of its back. Nice oof bg.
TFS enjoy the rest of the weekend, regards Bill

  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2012-06-23 7:54]

Hello Peter,
The details on the plumage are outstanding ! same a the POV !Lovely capture ! TFS Tina

Hello Peter,
As usual another nice picture with fantastic detail and colour. well composed picture.

Hallo Peter
A stunning, super sharp image filled with lovely colours and clear details. Masterly photographed. You have managed to capture this Kookaburra in a great pose, showing its beautiful coloured feathers to the best. The eye is magnetic. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hi Peter,

Classic pose & in wonderful light for this most attractive & sung about kingfisher bird. The sharpness is impressive & the colors at optimum intensity & hue. Very nicely composed & executed!



Ciao Peter.
Eccezionali dettagli e splendidi colori che sei riuscito ha catturare in questa stupenda foto grande la nitidezza bravo.
Ti auguro una buona domenica ciao Marco.

A very nice portrait of this unusual bird, which avoids revealing any hint of its captive state. However, the species is the Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii, not D. novaeguineae. It is a constant source of irritation to me when zoos, which claim to be educational establishments, mis-label their animals. Very striking bird, though and colour, sharpness and depth of field all look perfect.
Best wishes, Nigel.

Ciao Peter. Fabolouse portrait here! Bright colours and top sharp/details. Lovely compo.


Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird with fantastic colors, perfect focus on beautiful eye, splendid light, excellent sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2012-06-23 12:11]

Hi Peter,
Excellent portrait of this kingfisher.
Well done, nothing to critique.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • lee Silver Star Critiquer [C: 38 W: 0 N: 23] (84)
  • [2012-06-23 12:16]

Hi Peter
Certainly a nice shot here. Great colors. A nice pose. Detail is good. The background makes the bird pop. Good job, thanks....Lee

Hello Peter,
Spectacular composition with great focus and very good clarity. Wonderful contrast against the background. It is a interesting species of birds. I like the brilliant colors and light.
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Peter,the strong beak of this attractive bird is well portrayed,the eye is sharp and clear and the foliage has excellent detail.
A top class presentation.

scary amazing bird, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-06-23 15:13]

Hi Peter,the top of perfection on this pic,what a spectacular bird and what a magnificent quality,i like it!!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
great capture of this beautiful bird with excellent sharpness and lovely details. I especially like the wonderful colours and the fine eye contact.
Best wishes,

hi Peter,
again a new bird to me! give me reason why i shouldn't envy your collection :)
but thanks. got to know about a new kind of Kingfisher. a nice photograph with a very useful note.
always eager to see more posts from your side...

Hi Peter,
excellemt portrait. Very good sharpness. Interesting pose of this bird. Nice composition.
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Peter Alphen a.d. Rijn is a paradise for bird photographers and it was one of the place where Thijs(PentaxFriend) took me when i was in NL! This is very good picture , showing wonderful texture and colors.
Goutham R

Another amazing bird Peter! Fantastic photo too! The pose, the composition, the colours and the sharpness are excellent!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-06-24 4:54]

Hello Peter,
An impresive bird this Kookaburra-species! How beautiful its plumage and what a beak! Very expressive creature with its vivid eye. Perfect sharpness and fine composition. Very well done!
Kind regards

Hello Peter!
An outstanding shot showing this strange bird.What a POV,colors and fine details!!!Nice eyes contact.Wonderful job,indeed!TFS
Nice week!

PS: Thanks for visiting my gallery!I appreciated it!

Hallo Peter,
Wat een uitstekende vangen? De scherpte en detail is opmerkelijk. Perfecte contact met de ogen en oog detail, mooie kleuren en uw POV kon niet beter zijn geweest. Uitstekend werk mijn vriend.
Hartelijke groeten
Sorry verwachting voor afwezig wordt van tijd tot tijd, maar het naar werken daarmee verband houdende vraagstukken.

I love the pose of your subject. You have captured it beautifully showing great detail

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2012-06-27 8:31]

Hola Peter, excelente foto que muestra todos los detalles de la especie; buena luz, color, enfoque, fondo y una hermosa ave además...saludos.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2012-06-27 15:27]

Hello Peter,
Outstanding presentation of this unique looking bird. I have only seen them in nature shows on TV., so this is a thrill to see one so close up. They have quite interesting features and beautiful colors. Their head and bills seem a little too large for their bodies. Excellent detail, exposure and exceptional quality!!

Peter, this is a great close-up of this beautiful Kookaburra. Excellent sharpness and great detail. Nice job, Bill

Hi Peter

The Branch is helping to frame the bird. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the Blue-wineg Kookaburra. It is clear and sharp. The afternoon light has a good effect on the colors. Have a nice day.


Hi Peter,

Seeing this bird for the first time. Even though I have heard of it from the cricket accessories brand, that goes with the same name. The lower beak is somewhat different than normal KFs that I have seen. A really nice picture with piercing eyes, plumage details and shallow depth.


Bom dia Peter
Wonderful bird and excellent capture.Great pose and close composition,wonderful colours and great sharpness.Thank You.
Have a nice day!
Best regards

perfect capture, perfect picture ! congrats Peter !
lovely colors and very good details, i like the composition too, have a good time !

ciao, tino

Hello Peter

WOW ! great close-up shot of this species of kingfisher,
excellent focus, sharpness and details,
love his expressive glance, TFS


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