Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; unlike many other kingfishers, they rarely eat fish, although they have been known to take goldfish from garden ponds. In zoos, they are usually fed food for birds of prey.
The most social birds accept handouts and take meat from barbecues. Feeding kookaburras ground beef or pet food is not advised, as these do not include enough calcium and roughage.
They are territorial, except for the rufous-bellied, which often live with their young from the previous season. They often sing as a chorus to mark their territory.