Prepare yourself for the bird that can imitate any sound it heard, the lyrebirds. The Lyrebirds name comes from the shape of the males tail when displayed which looks like a Lyre (musical harp type gizmo) The outer bigger white & brown feathers appear like the frame & the inner thinner feathers are the strings. The Lyrebird is a plain looking brown (chicken size) bird, except for long trailing tail feathers They are dark-ish brown on top of their body , & lighter below & they have markings on their throat normally with a red to brown coloring As already mentioned the males have a lyre formed tail when displayed or trailing when not displaying The females are the same as the males except they are smaller & can not display their tail feathers in a lyre shape The lyrebirds song is strong & melodious except when frightened when it will let our high pitch shrieks of alarm as it runs away on its strong legs & toes.
They are magnificent mimicker of other birds & noises. Often in the morning you may think you are surrounded by a mass of bird species, to find out you have been fooled by a lyrebird. Automobile noises, chainsaws, canines & other noises are no issue for this excellent imitator The mimicry, though used in the mating courtship is heard all year round. It is said to be the way the male lyrebird tells others this is his territory, much like the Kookaburras "laugh".
A lyrebird's song is one of the more distinctive aspets of its behavioural biology. Lyrebirds sing throughout the year, but the peak of the breeding season, from June to August, is when they sing with the most intensity. During this peak they may sing for four hours of the day, almost half the hours of daylight. The song of the Superb Lyrebird is mixture of seven elements of its own song and any number of other mimicked songs and noises. The lyrebird's syrinx is the most complexly-muscled of the Passerines (songbirds), giving the lyrebird extraordinary ability, unmatched in vocal repertoire and mimicry. Lyrebirds render with great fidelity the individual songs of other birds and the chatter of flocks of birds, and also mimic other animals such as koalas and dingos. The lyrebird is capable of imitating almost any sound and they have been recorded mimicking human caused sounds such as a mill whistle to a cross-cut saw, chainsaws, car engines and car alarms, fire alarms, rifle-shots, camera shutters, dogs barking, crying babies, and even the human voice. However while the mimickry of human noises is widely reported the extent to which it happens is exaggerated, and the phenomenon is quite unusual.
One researcher, Sydney Curtis, has recorded flute-like lyrebird calls in the vicinity of the New England National Park. Similarly, in 1969, a park ranger, Neville Fenton, recorded a lyrebird song which resembled flute sounds in the New England National Park, near Dorrigo in northern coastal New South Wales. After much detective work by Fenton, it was discovered that in the 1930s, a flute player living on a farm adjoining the park used to play tunes near his pet lyrebird. The lyrebird adopted the tunes into his repertoire, and retained them after release into the park. Neville Fenton forwarded a tape of his recording to Norman Robinson. Because a lyrebird is able to carry two tunes at the same time, Robinson filtered out one of the tunes and put it on the phonograph for the purposes of analysis. The song represents a modified version of two popular tunes in the 1930s: "The Keel Row" and "Mosquito's Dance". Musicologist David Rothenberg has endorsed this information.
The lyrebird are found along the Eastern seaboard of Australia (east of the Great Dividing range) & also in Tasmania Their preferred habitat is damp forests either Eucalypt, rainforest or wet woodlands, often rugged & hard to access spots.
Lyrebirds feed on the ground raking over leaf litter & freshly turned soil looking for earthworms, insects, spiders & any other ground based invertebrates, crustaceans, myriapods, snails & so on. Their long claws & strong feet quickly lay open to them their prey from the earth & leaf litter of the wet forest floor.
One time the male has attracted a female Breeding takes place (around May to August) A male may take over female partner. After mating the Female makes a nest from sticks leaves & twigs intertwined in to a domed shape He will get no help at all from the male with any part of bringing up their young The female superb Lyrebird will then lay egg a brown blotchy looking egg This hatches in about 6 weeks, when the new born chick (downy white) appears & stays nest bound for an additional 6 to ten weeks.
Of the great exhibitions of the Australian forests is the courtship display of the male superb lyrebird First he builds a little mound (of dirt) on which he stands so he is better seen & heard He then spreads his magnificent tail feathers up & over his head in to the Lyre shape The tail is only spread & displayed for mating courtship purposes He then sings to his intended, his own songs & mimicking other birds & noises As he sings he moves about (dances) to attract the females attention. That's how the bird that can imitate any sound it heard become some sort of top animal, it's the lyrebirds everyone ^_^