About 80% of the Superb Lyrebird’s song consists of expert mimicry, with both natural and mechanical 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.
Mimicked calls: chainsaws, car engines, dog barks and local native birds. Other calls: a series of whistles and cackling notes that are used as territorial calls, as well as a loud alarm shriek. Bird call recorded by: Liam Manderson
The Superb Lyrebird looks like a large brown pheasant. The wings are 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 specialised feather. Females are smaller than males.
The Superb Lyrebird occurs in the south-eastern Australian mainland and southern Tasmania.
It is a ground-dwelling species in moist forests, but roosts in trees at night.
Birds are sedentary, rarely moving large distances and generally staying in a home-range about 10 km in diameter.
Superb Lyrebirds feed on insects, spiders, worms and, occasionally, seeds. It finds food by scratching with its feet through the leaf-litter. Birds tend to forage alone, but females and young males may be seen feeding together.
The male secures a territory, attracting potential mates by singing and dancing on one of several mounds within it, while throwing the tail forward over the body and shaking it in display. The male will mate with several females. The female alone builds the nest, incubates the eggs and cares for the young.