kook·​a·​bur·​ra ˈku̇-kə-ˌbər-ə How to pronounce kookaburra (audio)
: a brownish kingfisher (Dacelo novaeguineae synonym D. gigas) of Australia that is about the size of a crow and has a call resembling loud laughter

called also laughing jackass

Examples of kookaburra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Get up close and personal with Australia's unique wildlife on Kangaroo Island's nature reserve and see koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, fur seals, penguins, and kookaburras. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 12 Oct. 2023 First, your observations are checked for obvious errors — no penguins in Oregon or Australian kookaburras in Poughkeepsie, for example. The New York Times Elaine Chen Emily Anthes, New York Times, 18 May 2023 In 2006, when the queen was eager to see a kookaburra on a trip to Australia, Ms. Kelly pranked her with a fake one. Rory Satran, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2022 Australia’s poppy song was written with AI trained on previous Eurovision hits along with contributions from a neural network fed samples of noises made by koalas, kookaburras and Tasmanian devils. Amy Thomson, Bloomberg.com, 24 Apr. 2020 But in a fishing village thousands of miles away, where giant goannas scuttled through gumtrees and kookaburras laughed, my siblings were hunting for wild animal scat and leaping into the ocean. New York Times, 17 Jan. 2020 There are currently at least four species at the zoo whose native habitat is Australia: a bearded dragon lizard named Six, Dundee the kookaburra, a Fly River turtle named Penny and a pair of tawny frogmouth birds called Grover and Timrek. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Feb. 2020 Back in our adult clothes, we were sent away with gifts of commemorative stuffed kookaburras. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2019 And despite their sometimes-aggressive tendencies, the magpie was voted Australia’s ‘‘Bird of the Year’’ in a 2017 poll — ahead of the Australian white ibis and the laughing kookaburra. BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kookaburra.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Wiradhuri (Australian aboriginal language of central New South Wales) gugubarra

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kookaburra was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near kookaburra

Cite this Entry

“Kookaburra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kookaburra. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


kook·​a·​bur·​ra ˈku̇k-ə-ˌbər-ə How to pronounce kookaburra (audio)
: an Australian kingfisher that is about the size of a crow and has a call resembling loud laughter

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