Thanks for visiting my blog! MudBay World Wonders was created as an addendum to MudBay Musings as my personal way of celebrating God's magnificent creation by posting interesting stories and facts about our complex world.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Superb Lyrebird

photo of male Superb Lyrebird: copyright Hans and Judy Beste

Lyrebirds are ground-dwelling Australian birds, most noted for their ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment.  A lyrebird's call is a mixture of its own song and imitations of other songs and sounds. The bird's syrinx (vocal organ) is the most complexly-muscled of any songbird, giving the lyrebird the extraordinary ability to imitate almost any sound, including: various songbirds, flocks of birds, musical instruments, chainsaws, jackhammers, machinery of all kinds, car engines, car alarms, explosions, rifle-shots, fire alarms, camera shutters and motor drives, barking dogs, crying babies and the human voice. There are two species of lyrebird: the Superb Lyrebird and Albert's Lyrebird.

photo of male Superb Lyrebird: copyright Hans and Judy Beste

Cool Superb Lyrebird Facts:
  • The lyrebird is able to carry on two tunes at the same time
  • Males construct and maintain an open area mound in dense bush, on which they sing and dance in courtship
  • Females build an untidy nest close to the ground in a moist gully
  • Females lay a single egg and incubate the egg for over 50 days
  • When in danger, lyrebirds run rather than fly due to their awkwardness in flight
  • Lyrebirds have been seen to take refuge in wombat burrows, and firefighters taking shelter in mine shafts during bush fires have been joined by lyrebirds
  • A group of lyrebirds is called a musket
  • When in display, the male lyrebird's tail is carried up over his back as a shimmering fan, not in an upright lyre-shaped fashion
  • The female lyrebird lacks the elaborate plumes of highly modified tail feathers
photo of male Superb Lyrebird: Wikipedia Commons

Amazing Video Links:
For a video of "Chook" at the Adelaide Zoo imitating construction work, click here .
For a video of David Attenborough observing a lyrebird's repertoire in the wild, click here.

photo of male Superb Lyrebird: copyright by Ryan Wick, Creative Commons


  1. Oh, what a BEAUTIFUL bird! I LOVE those feathers... what an incredible gift G-d has given this creature ... indeed, yet another wonder in this magnificent world in which we live! Thank you, Catherine, as I have never known such a fabulous species existed!

  2. Incredible to listen & watch Chook! Thank you for this fascinating information.


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