rufous bellied kookaburra

Rufous-bellied kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud)

The rufous-bellied kookaburra 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. Rufous-bellied kookaburras are smaller than other kookaburra species at around 143 grams as against the laughing kookaburra’s 335 grams and about 28 centimetres as against the laughing kookaburra’s 46 centimetres. This kookaburra is unusual in that it occupies dense rainforests and does not live in cooperative breeding family groups but singly or when breeding in pairs. 

photo credits: Greg Miles


Expedition Report: Birding and Batteries in Port Moresby

This fall, a team of vertebrate specialists from the Museum—Brett Benz, Chris RaxworthyPaul Sweet, and Neil Duncan—is heading out to one of the most remote areas in the world in search of new species and specimens on the Explore21 Papua New Guinea expedition. Paul Sweet will be sending dispatches from the field as long as his laptop—and a signal—persist.

In this post, Paul writes about spotting “lifers”:

One of the most conspicuous and vocal birds in the gardens is the Willie Wagtail. One is singing even now in the dark. In all I saw around 20 species before breakfast, including many “lifers.” [Ed. New additions to a birder’s “life list” of observed species.]

Purchasing provisions: 

Our major purchase was batteries, lots of batteries: 144 D, 288 AA and 144 AAA. These are too heavy to bring in our luggage but essential for running headlamps, lanterns, and GPS units during six weeks off the grid.

And the conditions in the highlands: 

Cloud cover will likely obscure the mountains, which will give us an idea of the working conditions below. Only Chris seems excited about this because frogs are most active in the wet—it will not make bird and mammal work easy.

Read the full post on the Museum blog