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Rufous-bellied Kookaburra - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 16:30, 16 January 2024 by Jmorlan (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: Added variant English names.)
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Alternative names: Gaudichaud's Kookaburra, Rufous-bellied Giant Kingfisher

Dacelo gaudichaud
Photo by Mehd Halaouate
Yapen Island, Papua New Guinea, March 2005


28–31 cm 11-12.2 inches. Male 110-161 g, female 138-170 g


Photo by Mehd Halaouate
Genyem, Papua New Guinea, May 2004
  • White stripe behind eye
  • Shiny black cap and back separated by white collar
  • Lower back, rump and uppertail coverts glossy deep blue
  • Black wing coverts with light blue edges
  • Dark blue tail
  • Deep reddish-brown underparts below throat
  • Whitish or horn coloured beak, frequently have a dark line on culmen
  • Dark brown iris
  • Grey legs and feet


  • As male, but tail deep reddish-brown


  • Darkish edges to feathers on hindneck and underparts
  • Darkish beak.


Lowlands of New Guinea including Kolepom Island, Geelvink Bay islands of Yapen and Mios Num, Aru islands, west Papuan islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool, Heath Island in Milne Bay and North Moluccas (Gebe Island).


This is a monotypic[1] species.


Usually in the lower canopy of monsoon and riverine forest, additionally in primary rainforest, floodplain forest, parkland, secondary growth forest, dense coastal palm scrub, mangroves and gardens. Also frequents stand-alone groups of trees in cleared areas, teak and rain tree plantations. Needs arboreal termitaria to breed. Usually below 500 m, but has been recorded up to 1300 m in the northeast (Mt Bosavi).



Arthropods, including grasshoppers and locusts, stick-insects, beetles, larvae, earthworms and large spiders, crabs, small vertebrates, including frogs, lizards, birds and small mammals. Forages mainly in lower canopy by gleaning sometimes seen on the ground, where it occasionally digs. Attacks birds caught in mist-nets, gets mobbed by small birds, suggesting that it might predate nestling or eggs.


Mainly breeds in the late dry and early wet seasons, nest excavation has been reported in mid-August and September, additionally in May–June. Eggs nhave been reported in early October and nestlings seen October, December, January and early February. Both adults dig a tunnel with nesting chamber in an active termite nest, between 2–40 m up on side of tree. Territory is 2–2,5 hectares, defended by male, chasing {{Dictionary A-C#C|conspecifics]] and other species away. 2 eggs, young fed by both adults, mainly with small insects but includes larger ones and earthworms, 6–11 feeding visits have been recorded per hour.


Common calls include a loud, repetitive “tok” or “chok”, a very fast “tok-tok-tok” sounding like “trrrk”, repeated every 2 seconds, a series of loud hoarse barks or laughs at the same pitch, these calls often encourage birds in adjacent territories to respond, several birds calling together can sound like chorus of Blue-winged Kookaburra. It also has a loud rattle flight call, which may become a laugh on landing, “kikikikiki-haw-haw-haw-haw-haw”, other calls include 3–6 slow, high-pitched shrieked “elew, elew, elew”s, rasping call when chasing each other in flight. Immatures make a weak whistling sound.




  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)

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