Lyrebirds, the Shy Performers

When trying to attract a mate, some birds try to compete with one another by building the most impressive nest or set of feathers. Other birds do perform elaborate dances with their flying capabilities or stretch their vocal ability. The lyrebird on the other hand puts a totally unique twist to the art of singing.

Found in several parts of Eastern Australia and divided into two subspecies, the lyrebird is actually a very shy bird, so they are difficult to approach up close. They are capable of living up to roughly thirty years, and their breeding cycles do not begin until between their sixth and eighth year. Since they primarily live and feed on the ground, their flight abilities are rather poor. They make up for this shortcoming by having long legs adapted for walking and being able to feed on many invertebrate species on the ground.

Lyrebirds sing all throughout the year, but the peak of their activity is during the breeding season in the Summer time. During the peak seasons, they would sing on average for four hours straight! Their complex syrinx, the vocal organ of birds located at the base of their trachea, is what allows them to not only create unique patterns, but also mimic the sounds they hear around them. This causes them to mimic the calls of entirely different bird species well enough that even the original birds are fooled. Although it is unusual for them to mimic human vocals, they are well known for perfectly capturing how a chainsaw revving up to cut a tree would sound, or even alarms and rifle shots. Be sure to watch the video posted above if you find this hard to believe!

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