Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Superb Lyrebird

A Superb Lyrebird running through a clearing in the rainforest
Kape Images website banner

Scientific Name: Menura novaehollandiae

Size: 80 to 100 cm (including tail), with females smaller than males.

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.

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.

Where is it found?

Found in suitable habitat though the southeastern Australian mainland and southern Tasmania

What are its habitats & habits?

The Superb Lyrebird occurs in the moist forests. 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.

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.

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.

Interesting facts

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.

Peter Rowland Tours Banner
Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this Page...

If you found this page useful, please share it with your friends