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Lyrebirds

Identification And Behavior, Reproduction

Lyrebirds are named for the male's magnificent tail, which spreads in a fan-like display, resembling a lyre, an ancient Greek stringed instrument. The male's body is little longer than 12 in (30.5 cm), but the tail may be longer than 16 in (40.5 cm). The only two species of lyrebird in the world are indigenous to a strip of rugged, hilly bushland along the east coast of the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. The superb lyrebird (Menura superba) and Prince Albert lyrebird (M. alberti) belong to the genus Menura (from the Greek meaning "mighty tail") of the suborder Oscines and the order Passeriformes (perching birds), the largest and most diverse bird order in the world. Lyrebirds have one of the most beautiful singing voices in the bird kingdom. But apart from their songs and unique calls, they are excellent mimics, copying not only the songs of other birds, but all types of environmental noises like chain saws, lawn mowers, tractors, human voices, and whistles. Although both lyrebirds have declined in abundance, they are not considered endangered species.


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