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Ahmad Shiddiqi

Rookie (March 7,1974 / Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia)


short neck, short legs
stout, compact body
rather long, pointed bill
from Kingfishers family
woodland areas of eastern
and south western Australia
Laughing Jackass of Australia

the upper parts dark brown
the wings spotted gray-blue
a white band separates
the head from the body
a dark stripe through eye
the under parts are white
the strong bill is black

rolling, laughing call
one of the best-known
sounds in the animal world
raise a wild chorus of crazy laughter
as they go to roost in the treetops at dusk
wake everyone within hearing just as dawn breaks
in the hinterlands of Australia known as the 'bushman's clock'

The Australian aborigines have a legend
when the sun rose for the first time
the god Bayame ordered the kookaburra
to utter its loud, almost human laughter in order
to wake up mankind so that they should not miss
the wonderful sunrise and that any child who insulted
a kookaburra would grow an extra slanting tooth

Submitted: Monday, August 11, 2008
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