Lyrebirds are one of the most fascinating species of birds. They are master mimickers. Be it natural or artificial sounds, they can get it all. They even can mimic the sounds of camera shutters and car alarms!
Lyrebirds are ground living birds with strong legs and feet and short rounded wings. They are generally poor fliers and rarely take to the air except for periods of downhill gliding. The superb lyrebird is found in areas of rainforest in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.
A lyrebird’s song is one of the more distinctive aspects 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 almost half the hours of daylight. The song of the superb lyrebird is a mixture of elements of its own song and any number of other mimicked songs and noises; the latter being a subject of much interest and admiration by humans around the world, including David Attenborough. The lyrebird is capable of imitating almost any sound and they have been recorded mimicking human sounds such as a mill whistle, a cross-cut saw, car alarms, rifle-shots, crying babies, music, mobile phone ring tones, and even the human voice.
Lyrebird by John Gould
The lyrebird is so called because the male bird has a spectacular tail, which was originally thought to resemble a lyre. This happened when a lyrebird specimen was prepared for display at the British Museum by a taxidermist who had never seen a live lyrebird. The taxidermist mistakenly thought that the tail would resemble a lyre, and so he arranged the feathers in this way. Later, John Gould (who had never seen a live lyrebird), painted the lyrebird from the British Museum specimen. Although very beautiful, the male lyrebird’s tail is not held as in John Gould’s painting. Instead, the male lyrebird’s tail is fanned over the lyrebird during courtship display, with the tail completely covering his head and back.
Here is a Lyrebird with sounds from a construction site:
Here is a Lyrebird making sounds of a toy gun:
And the last one being for Star Wars fans. Stormtroopers in the forest? Hardly. Just a Lyrebird!