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Brolga's Laugh

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

A brolga (Grus rubicunda) is Australia's only true crane. It's a tall, elegant, silver-grey bird with a red patch on its head. The bird is up to 1.2 meters tall.

Brolga's are noted for their elaborate courtship dances accompanied by loud calls. They also dance when not courting. They eat insects, frogs and fish.

Australian Brolga
Australian Brolga

The brolga laughs and the brolga shouts,
The brolga's there when there's rain about;
If it's going to rain he's sure to know,
And then he'll laugh 'Oh! oh! oh! oh!'

He laughs all night, and he laughs all day,
If it's going to rain he'll laugh and play;
If he laughs in the night it's sure to rain,
And then he'll dance and laugh again.

He mounts right up above the trees
And looks across for the north-east breeze;
He sees the clouds coming afar,
And then he laughs 'Ah! ah! ah! ah!'

He curves his neck and spreads his wings,
For the brolga does some funny things;
If it rains all night he'll laugh with glee,
Saying, 'Now there's water enough for me!'

The frog may croak and the duck may swim,
But the brolga's laugh's enough for him.
Men with guns and little to do
Will shoot the brolga through and through.

If they'd but work and pay their way
The brolga still could laugh and play.
He saw the bars that crossed the moon,
And thought 'Not now, but very soon.'

'The Brisbane man will have to swim,'
And the brolga's laugh's a hint for him.
They make their nest without a straw,
And lay one egg, for I've seen no more.

They'll hatch their young in the pouring rain,
And then they'll laugh and laugh again.
If a drought comes on, which it's sure to do,
The swamps all dry and herbage too.

They'll mount right up and away will soar,
And the brolga's laugh we'll hear no more
Till the rain return with its pattering glee,
Then the brolga's laugh will bring joy to me.

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