A photo of a kookaburra in the Blue Mountains, Australia. By photographer James Horan.
Kookaburras (genus Dacelo) are large to very large (total length 28-42 cm/11-17 in) terrestrial kingfishers native to Australia and New Guinea, the name a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, which is onomatopoeic of its call.
Kookaburras are best known for their unmistakable call, which is uncannily like loud, echoing human laughter -- good-natured, but rather hysterical, merriment in the case of the well-known Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae); and maniacal cackling in the case of the slightly smaller Blue-winged Kookaburra (D. leachii). They are generally not closely associated with water, and can be found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, but also in suburban and residential areas near running water and where food can be searched for easily.