The kookaburra, medium sized birds of the genus Dacelo, are allegedly conquering Tasmania according to new reports. As the researchers note, probably the drier conditions, longer periods of drought and reduced rainfall are contributing to an abnormal spread of this bird that was once considered very rare in this area.
These birds with their characteristic, and for many of them annoying, squeaky noise resembling to a human laughter, were in fact introduced in Tasmania from the mainland by the beginning of the twentieth century, after they had relatively spread in Australia. According to what Australian ABC researcher Sally Bryant of the Tasmania Land Conservancy explains on the Australian ABC website, the proliferation of kookaburras is raising concerns about their potential impact on other native Tasmanian species.
The fact is that this bird seems not to be afraid of anything and is proving to be more and more of a formidable predator. They form very close-knit colonies occupying any natural cavity and this means that there is less and less chance of nesting for other bird species. They prove to be very adaptable, even in semi-urban landscapes, and do not seem to achieve much damage even when forest fires or serious disturbances of nature occur. Very often they are the first species to return to an area that has been deforested by fire.
At present, very little research has determined the exact rate of increase and spread of this species of bird in Tasmania, but researchers already seem to be sure that it has had a strong impact on their main prey, frogs, lizards, small rodents and small snakes. They don’t disdain, however, eating chicks from other species of birds that literally kidnap from their nests. And they are not afraid of human beings either, since they are used to steal food, such as raw or cooked meat, left in the open air.