Rufous-bellied kookaburra

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The rufous-bellied kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud), originally known as Gaudichaud’s kookaburra after the French botanist Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré, is a species of kookaburra which is widely distributed through the forests of lowland New Guinea. It has also been recorded on Saibai Island, Queensland, Australia.

It has a black cap, blue-tinged wings, and a pale rufous belly and tail feathers, but its white bill distinguishes it very clearly from other kookaburras with their black bills. Juveniles, however, have a dark grey bill. Like the blue-winged kookaburra, the sexes can be distinguished by the colour of the tail feathers: blue in males and rufous in females and immature birds. Rufous-bellied kookaburras are smaller than other kookaburra species at around 143 grams (5.0 oz) as against the laughing kookaburra’s 335 grams (11.8 oz) and about 28 centimetres (11.0 in) as against the laughing kookaburra’s 46 centimetres (18.1 in). Despite this major size difference, the rufous-bellied kookaburra has been known to form (infertile) hybrids with all other kookaburra species, though available genetic studies suggest it is clearly the most distant of the four.

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