Superb Lyrebird - Menura novaehollandiae
What does it look like?
The Superb Lyrebird looks like a large brown pheasant. The wings are more rufous in colour and the bill, legs and feet are black. The adult male has an ornate tail, with special curved feathers that, in display, assume the shape of a lyre. The tails of females and young males are long, but lack the specialized feathers.
Including the tail, Superb Lyrebirds measure 80 to 100 cm in length, with females smaller than males.
The Superb Lyrebird’s song is somewhat famous. About 80% of the song consists of expert mimicry, with both natural and man-made sounds imitated and joined together in a rousing medley. Sounds can include anything heard in the bird’s immediate surroundings, such as chainsaws, car engines, dog barks and local< native birds. The Superb Lyrebirds does not have a specific song of its own, as the mimicry is used during most songs. The bird does, however, emit a series of whistles and cackling notes that are thought to be its own.
One other lyrebird is found in Australia. The Albert's Lyrebird, M. alberti, is restricted to an area around the Border Ranges, on the Queensland-NSW Border. Birds are more reddish, and the male’s tail is less elaborate.
What habitat does it live in?
The Superb Lyrebird occurs in the moist forests of the southeastern Australian mainland and southern Tasmania. It is a ground-dwelling species, but will roost in trees at night. Birds are sedentary, in that they do not move large distances, and stay in a home-range of about 10 km in diameter.
What food does it eat?
Superb Lyrebirds feed on insects, spiders, worms and, occasionally, seeds. Food is found by scratching through the leaf-litter with its feet. Birds tend to forage alone, but females and young males may be seen feeding together.
Where and when does it breed?
Superb Lyrebirds breed in April to October each year (season slightly shorter in north of range). The male secures a territory and attracts potential mates by singing and dancing on one of several mounds within his territory. The male will mate with several females. The female alone builds the nest, incubates the eggs and cares for the young.