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Blue-winged Kookaburra

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-02-01
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 55-200mm EF f/4.5-5.6 II USM, Digital ISO 400, UV 52mm Marumi
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/200 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Australia, Animal Portraits II, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Intimate Portraits [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-02-12 4:58
Viewed: 8066
Favorites: 3 [view]
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Blue-winged kookaburra - Dacelo leachii

Years ago when I visited Durban's Umgeni Bird Park for the first time I didn't know much about nature or birds. Sometimes I wonder if I really know that much more today, as I daily see so many new animals, birds, insects, etc. and all the other wonderful images on TN. Anyhow, I did not even know what a kookaburra was! Then a little boy stepped up to the kookaburra aviary and started to sing the song: "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, Merry, merry king of the bush is he..." Immediately it struck me like Monday mornings washing on a rainy day. So this is what the words of the song meant that I too sang so many times in my life, as a kid, while not having the foggiest clue what I was singing about. Is this what one could perhaps call infantile enlightenment?

These birds are related to our South African kingfisher family although they are much larger than most kingfishers. Somehow they always look so ill-tempered, serious, obstreperous, or unfriendly. Maybe it’s just because they are Australians (now hold on, before you lot down-under start stoning me, it’s intended as a little joke). Generally kookaburra’s make for good photography as they are very co-operative. They would sit very still for extended periods while they just watch you (with those steely blue eyes) as you are feverously clicking away. I just wonder, what’s going on in that little mind?

This was another one of those rainy days with dark clouds and "bad" light, but lately I've been wondering if it is not really advantageous when one are taking photographs of birds in aviaries. You maybe have better control over the lighting and you do not have all the unwanted streaks of sunlight bursting into the background or spoiling the subject with burned out highlights.


It has a large, cream-white head that is streaked brown with a brown back and its wings are mostly blue. The rump and tail are also blue on the male, but the female has a reddish-brown barred tail. Differences from Laughing Kookaburra are: blue rump, cream-white head and light eye colour.

43 cm.

In Australia the Blue-winged Kookaburra is distributed widely in tropical and subtropical eucalypt woodlands and paperbark swamps across the tropical top of Australia, extending down the east coast into north-eastern N.S.W.

It feeds mainly on insects and reptiles, or frogs when they are abundant. These include snakes, lizards, large insects, small mammals and the odd small bird.

Not globally threatened. Source.

Camera settings
ISO setting – 400
Aperture – f/7.1
Shutter speed – 1/200
Focal length - 125mm

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

jossim, deons, reina, wishnugaruda, saguzar, PDP, pauljk, hummingbird24, aido, Dyker, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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To reina: Burned headloot 2 02-12 14:56
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-02-12 5:03]

Superbe portrait!

Excellente netteté et excellent détails. Félicitations pour le contraste Bg et sujets, ceci fait bien ressortir l'oiseau et ses belles couleurs. Félicitations pour le ragard et la qualité de l'image.

Merci pour l'envoie Loot.


  • Great 
  • deons Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 55] (595)
  • [2006-02-12 6:42]

Hi Loot

Excellent detail and interesting notes



  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-02-12 8:32]

Hay Loot ,nice picture , good details good pov
very nice ,thanks , have a nice day gr, Teunie .

  • Great 
  • reina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 1 N: 330] (2032)
  • [2006-02-12 12:15]
  • [+]

Hoi Loot, very nice portrait, feathers look nice, some overexposure at the head maybe, allthough you said it was rainy. Thanks for sharing all the details. Good week, greetings Reina

Hi Loot,
wow, this is close!
This bird is so pretty and you captured him with so excellent sharpness, very well done
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2006-02-12 13:56]

Hi Loot,
This is sharp!
Very sharp and detailed with great colours,
the dark background really works well,
Thanks for sharing!

Well this is a winner on all levels: composition, technique and note.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-02-13 1:14]

Absolutely fantastic, Loot.
Perfect on all counts. Congratulations and TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
a very good portrait. The black BG makes the bird stasnd out nicely. Well composed, good POV and details.
Very well done.

Hi Loot
Excellent portrait, colours, light and focus are very good.
Have a nice day

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-02-13 14:36]

Hello Loot, lovely shot. SUper details and excellent colours. The eye is particularly captivating, very nice work.

Hi Loot,
Great capture with incredible feather detail. Looks like that lens is a fine performer.

An excellent profile of this kookaburra, with lovely eye detail, colors, and dark BG.

Your image is well composed, POV and exposure are good, with slight exception of the top of the head where there is some OE areas, however, still a wonderful shot.

Great job, thank you Loot!

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-03-21 6:20]

Hi Loot,
Great portrait, excellent detail throughout, colours are great too. The blue wings are just visible which gives an idea of the amazing colours of this bird. My Dad brought a book back from Australia for me when I was a kid, it was called The Bush and the Billabong, that was my first introduction to Australian wildlife and where I first learned of the Kookaburra, although I've never actually seen one!
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-05-06 3:53]

Hello Loot
You actually made this mean and nasty appearing Ausie looking very good. Sorry, I have nothing against Ausies (good or bad looking ones), it's maybe just an emotional scar left behind after the cricket world cup thrashing they gave us. The dark background makes the bird stand out quite spectacularly and the colours and fine focus gives it amazing appeal. A fabulous photo and a fine effort.

Hello Loot

Ja, 'n mens is nooit te oud of te wys om iets te leer nie. Daar leer ek toe ook wat daardie liedjie eintlik oor gaan. Ons het dit ook as kinders gesing en nie die vaagste benul gehad waaroor ons sing nie, maar nou kom ek ook agter hoe verkeerd ons die woorde gehad het. Ek gaan egter nie sê hoe ons dit gesing het nie aangesien jy net gaan lag.

Hierdie voêl is egter beeldskoon en die foto is prysenswaardig vir die wyse hoe jy die kookaburra afgeneem het. Hier is 'n absolute kontras met die lig kleurige voël teenoor die donker agtergrond. Dit is puik aangesien die voêl so mooi uitstaan en so goed belig is. Dit vertoon ook die fynste besonderhede van al die veertjies, die bek en die oog. Mooi, mooier, mooiste...


Wat 'n nors outjie! - ek sal nie omgee om al hierdie mooi kleure in my hare te he nie.

Hallo Loot
Maybe I am missing something here, because I really cannot see how this portrait can only have a score of 34. Anyway let’s leave it there. A stunning, super sharp and super special image filled with lovely colours and clear details. Masterly photographed and I cannot find any fault. You have managed to capture this Kookaburra in a great very close to the eye pose. The colours and details captured is fabulous. The eye is magnetic. Focus, sharpness and framing is great and presented in a most delightful manner. Thanks for sharing.

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