Kookaburra Spiritual Meaning

Kookaburra spiritual, metaphysical, and symbolic meanings—what messages are we supposed to take from the sighting of this charismatic bird? In this article we look at, not only the spiritual meaning, but also what omens the kookaburra brings.

What’s a Kookaburra Anyway?

The kookaburra is a type of kingfisher that generally doesn’t like to fish! Instead, it preys on invertebrates and some small vertebrates. Also, it’s not just one species. There are four species of “true” kookaburras. A fifth, the shovel billed kookaburra, belongs to a different genus.

Kookaburras are striking in appearance. They’re larger than most of their kingfisher cousins, reaching up to 17 inches (43cm) in length! Also, they’re generally not as colorful as some of their close relatives. Nevertheless, they are visually striking—they possess stocky bodies with large heads and frighteningly powerful beaks.

What Does the Name “Kookaburra” Mean?

The name “kookaburra” has important cultural significance. The name comes from the Wiradjuri people of Australia. It is an onomatopoeia of the bird’s call.

Before the First Sunrise, the Kookaburra Woke the People Up!

The Australian aborigines place the kookaburra in a position of great importance. When the people were still sleeping, the god Bayame commanded the kookaburra to call out as loudly as possible—its call sounding like the hearty laughter of people. The bird’s striking call woke the sleeping people. Thus, the humble kookaburra is responsible for waking the people up, in order to witness the beauty of the world’s first sunrise.

No Fish, Bugs Please – Symbolism

For most kingfishers, there is a spiritual connection to the water. The act of diving into it is a symbol of reflecting upon feelings, emotions, and especially, secrets. However, the kookaburra does not dive into the water to catch fish. Rather, it is a “terrestrial” kingfisher. And the word “terrestrial” is telling of its spiritual meaning—terrestrial means “of the earth”. So, the kookaburra is a powerful message to stay grounded, to be honest, humble, but most of all, to find joy in a life connected to the land.

Most kingfishers hunt fish from the water’s edge.

Also, it’s worth paying attention to what the kookaburra eats. Because it doesn’t eat fish like most kingfishers. Instead, the kookaburra eats bugs, small mammals and reptiles, and even snakes. What they eat isn’t particularly, but how they eat definitely is. Because it evolved from fish-eating kingfishers, the kookaburra swallows its food whole the same way that birds swallow fish whole. However, it’s more difficult to swallow a lizard whole than a fish on account of the tough bones and limbs. So, the kookaburra smashes its prey repeatedly until all of the bones are broken, allowing the bird to swallow its prey whole.

The way kookaburras have adapted to eating something unusual for their skillset is a message of determination, ingenuity, and creativity. Think of the old phrase, “if life gives you lemons”. While what life might serve up to you at the moment might not be your strong suit, there is a way to adapt. When you adapt, you don’t only survive, you can prosper!

Romantic Loyalty & Family First

Kookaburras usually mate for life. Therefore, they’re undeniable symbols of love. But, not just any love. For example, they don’t really represent the early, passionate days of a relationship. Rather, the kookaburra stands for long-lasting, dedicated, cooperative love.

kookaburra nest
By John Robert McPherson, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Moreover, their love is not only for each other, but also for the broader family. The kookaburra has an interesting social structure. For up to four years, the kookaburras offspring will continue to be welcome in the parents’ territory. In fact, it’s more than that! The older siblings will take care of the younger ones—even being allowed to help incubate the eggs.

So, take that message on board—in a healthy, cooperative, dedicated relationship you should love your partner and work together to achieve common goals. And, don’t forget, love your parents as much as possible. Also, the same goes for your brothers and sisters—especially when they’re in need. While we might not always be gifted the perfect family, when we’re able to (i.e. where the love and care is reciprocated healthily), we should maintain family bonds.

Meaning of the Kookaburra’s Call

The call of the kookaburra is probably what it is most famous for. Which, when you see how striking the bird’s size and appearance is then you realize, yikes, it must have an impressive call. And it does. The kookaburra is famous for “laughing” like a human. So, that is why this bird is such a profound symbol of overwhelming joy, enthusiasm, optimism, joviality—this bird is all about having a good time. And, it’s especially about enjoy life with family and friends.

Also, we should remember the bird’s call as per the aborigine’s creation—it was the kookaburra that woke the people from their slumber, so that they could enjoy the world’s first sunrise. So, when the kookaburra wakes you up in the morning with his loud laughter, try not to be too grumpy. Go on outside and have a look at the sky—I bet it’s a beautiful morning out there!

Kookaburras and the Color Blue

Kingfishers are usually quite colorful birds. Unfortunately though, the kookaburra isn’t quite as flashy as some of its orange and blue cousins. But, that’s not to say it doesn’t have some color. Moreover, it’s not to say there isn’t a spiritual message or meaning there.

Think of the the blue-winged kookaburra—its wings are decorated with an iridescent shimmer. Blue is an important color in spirituality, especially when it comes to birds. When birds fly, they convey a message of connection between the earth and the heavens. Blue, especially lighter shades, also represent celestial matters. So, take on board the flying kookaburra’s message—at times our grounded lives might make us feel disconnected from the divine, but that isn’t true at all.

Kookaburra Dream Meaning

Dream interpretation is challenging. While we might share certain experiences, and therefore are inclined to sometimes share perspectives, the truth is that the meaning of a dream is a deeply personal matter.

However, having said that, when trying to analyze the meaning of your kookaburra dream, it can help to reflect on the entirety of this article as well as questioning what a kookaburra means to you. Are you happy when you see them? Do you find their loud laughter amuse you? If so, then it’s certainly a message of joy and happiness. Whereas, if you’re an ornithophobe (i.e. you suffer from an irrational fear of birds) then it’s safe to say you’ve had a nightmare and you might be suffering from a bout of anxiety.

Further Reading