Kookaburra behaviour

To: Carol Probets <>
Subject: Kookaburra behaviour
From: Susan Pepper <>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2018 17:31:09 +1100
More information -
This is a group of kookaburras I often see - I took the photograph from my 
balcony, and they were not far away. There was a group of four and the ‘battle’ 
lasted around 5 minutes.  I saw the beak hanging behaviour twice. Afterwards 
they all flew off together. I did wonder if there were juveniles involved.

This is another photo of the two involved.

JPEG image

Sent from my iPad

> On 31 Oct 2018, at 5:13 pm, Carol Probets <> wrote:
> Susan, I think this was a fascinating observation and extra kudos for 
> capturing the behaviour in a photo.
> Three possibilities come to mind for me: (a) play, (b) establishing dominance 
> within a group, or (c) territorial fighting with an outsider. The behaviour 
> around the incident will suggest which it was. Did the bird on the receiving 
> end of the altercation flee afterwards, or did all seem to return to normal? 
> Kookaburras are particularly aggressive in their defence of territory and if 
> an individual strays into another group's territory, it’s possible for a 
> fight to the death to ensue.
> Additionally, I think your photo illustrates well how strong a kookaburra's 
> neck muscles are. These attach to a special bony ridge at the back of the 
> skull and enable the bird to beat its prey with great force. And, it seems, 
> to hold and dangle a rival by its head.
> Cheers,
> Carol
>> On 31 Oct 2018, at 3:43 pm, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
>> Sure is an odd picture. I suggest it is just one of those odd moments that a
>> camera is able to record, that would otherwise be lost. As I see it, it is
>> not "one of the birds was completely suspended by the beak". The grip is on
>> the feathers of the face. I don't see anything requiring any explanation,
>> other than just a moment of drama in a fight. Could be wrong of
>> course.........
>> Philip
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
>> Susan Pepper
>> Sent: Wednesday, 31 October, 2018 2:06 PM
>> To: 
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Kookaburra behaviour
>> I have just been watching some kookaburras and witnessed behaviour I have
>> not seen before. I am curious to know if any one can explain it. Two of them
>> appeared to be fighting with their beaks, and twice one of the birds was
>> completely suspended by the beak with the other kookaburra holding it.  Is
>> this normal for the species?
>> Thanks
>> Susan, Mooroolbark.
>> <HR>
>> <BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
>> <BR> 
>> <BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:
>> <BR>
>> </HR>
<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU