Saturday, December 17, 2011

Superb Lyrebird

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... four calling birds...

Male Superb Lyrebird
Alright, today's animal was a little less specific on type. We've had Partridges, which are contained in one family. We've had Turtledoves, a term that relates to only a few species. But now we have "Calling Birds," which I've taken to mean some sort of songbirds (though this one source claims it refers to Blackbirds, which is an interesting read.)

Anyway, my choice to go with a songbird puts me in a pickle, as songbirds aren't found in just one genus, or family. Nope, that's an entire order. So you know what? Let's go big. And awesome. Or dare I say... Superb?

Meet the Superb Lyrebird, one of the largest, longest, and heaviest songbirds on the planet. Not the petite little guy that typically comes to mind when you think of the song, huh? These birds live in the forests of Australia, and are sexually dimorphic. Females are brownish-gray, and have short tail feathers. Males, on the other hand, have spectacular tails with lacy feathers and two large plumes that form the shape of a Lyre.

Superb Lyrebirds aren't just large and flashy... they have some serious pipes. They have the ability to mimic the calls of other birds, and can even duplicate other random noises as well (watch the video clip below, it's pretty amazing). Both the males and hte females sing, but the males are louder and do it more frequently.

Singing is done more often during the breeding season, when males work to attract females into their territories. Superb Lyrebirds are not monogamous; females will enter male territories and scope out potential mates. The males built mounds, where they stand and do their displays. Upon mating, she will build a nest in her own range, and incubate and care for the single chick alone.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Australia
Size : Length (with feathers) 3.2ft (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Menuridae -- Genus : Menura -- Species : M. novaehollandiae

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