A Big Meal For A Little Kookaburra

Warning – the following photos may not be for the squeamish!

Last weekend I saw an incredible spectacle of a juvenile kookaburra chowing down a huge meal. It’s rare for me to see a kookaburra actually eat anything in the wild, and seeing this little bird scoff down an enormous meal was just so amazing I felt I had to share it, as I think many others out there probably would not get to see such a thing very often, if at all.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll remember I have a pair of kookaburras hanging around my place who recently had two little babies.  On this day, I heard an excited sounding baby kookaburra begging for food, so I went outside to see what was going on and saw this.

One of the adult kookaburras had managed to get this excellent catch to feed one of the babies – a red bellied black snake, about 3 feet long, most likely snatched up from the little creek running through the bottom of next door’s property.

The young kookaburra was clearly excited about getting a good feed!

As I watched, the adult flew onto the branch the young one was on and gave it the snake, and the baby snatched it off the parent with gusto.

The young kookaburra had a giant mouthful of snake and all the while was making that loud begging noise, obviously very happy to have been fed such a meal. As I watched, the young bird shook the snake vigorously, although it was very clearly long dead, then started to smack it against the branch, then eventually started to swallow it.

All this took about 10 minutes, then the parent flew off down the valley and the young kookaburra decided to fly off to its usual spot under our house, where it was in complete shade and well protected. Bear in mind, that on this day, it was already 35 degrees Celsius at only 10.30am when this started to take place, and you can see the birds have their wings out to try and keep cool.

The little kookaburra sat like this for a good half hour, just digesting his meal and every so often getting a bit more of the snake down.

The parent came back briefly to see how it was going, then after a minute or so, flew off again, leaving the young kookaburra to finish off his huge meal.

And then it was all gone and the kookaburra had a smile on its face.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. And I really didn’t think that little kookaburra would eat the entire snake because it was such a big meal for a little bird!





16 thoughts on “A Big Meal For A Little Kookaburra

  1. Fantastic post! I’ve seen a Kookaburra banging a rat against a branch just the way you described with the snake. Surely the young one wouldn’t need to eat again for a long time!

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  2. What a delightful post Sue, I see a look of satisfaction on the face of the parent having been able to bring such a good feed. I could imagine like other bird parents, he would be thinking’ well that should keep it quiet for a few hours’. I saw some parents being followed bu squawking hungry children yesterday while out birding. It is amazing how they can eat such a large meal. Again you have an amazing backyard view into the wildlife of our country, and share your very unique connection with it.

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  3. Great shots, great story. Amazing that you could get close enough to get those great shots, and how wonderful that your local kookaburra family choses under your house for their R&R!

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