The Superb lyrebird is one of two species of Lyrebird found in Australia the other being the Albert's lyrebird.
Lyrebirds are shy, wary birds. When seen they are normally just a blur as they run and dodge rapidly through the dense forest underbrush.
Their wings aid them in running and jumping up into branches and onto rocks etc and then gliding back down again and though they seldom fly they do roost in low trees at night
The Lyrebirds name comes from the shape of the males tail when displayed which looks like a Lyre (musical harp type instrument)
The outer two bigger white and brown feathers appear like the frame and the inner thinner feathers are the strings
Really the Lyrebird is a very plain looking brown (chicken size) bird, except for long trailing tail feathers
They are darkish brown on top of their body , and lighter below and they have markings on their throat normally with a red to brown colouring
As already mentioned the males have a lyre shaped tail when displayed or trailing when not displaying
The females are the same as the males except they are smaller and can not display their tail feathers in a lyre shape
The lyrebirds song is strong and melodious except when frightened when it will let our high pitch shrieks of alarm as it runs away on its strong legs and toes.
They are magnificent mimicker of other birds and noises.
Often in the morning you may think you are surrounded by a multitude of bird species, to find out you have been fooled by a lyrebird.
Car noises, chainsaws, dogs and other noises are no problem for this excellent imitator
The mimicry, though used in the mating courtship is heard all year round.
It is said to be the way the male lyrebird tells others this is his territory, much like the Kookaburras "laugh"
LOCATION & HABITAT
The lyrebird are found along the Eastern seaboard of Australia (east of the Great Dividing range) and also in Tasmania
Their preferred habitat is damp forests either Eucalypt, rainforest or wet woodlands, often very rugged and hard to access spots.
Lyrebirds feed on the ground raking over leaf litter and freshly turned soil looking for earthworms, insects, spiders and any other ground based invertebrates, crustaceans, myriapods, snails and so on.
Their long claws and strong feet quickly lay open to them their prey from the earth and leaf litter of the wet forest floor
COURTSHIP DISPLAY OF THE MALE
One of the great exhibitions of the Australian forests is the courtship display of the male superb lyrebird
Firstly he builds a small mound (of dirt) upon which he stands so he is better seen and heard
He then spreads his magnificent tail feathers up and over his head into the Lyre shape
The tail is only spread and displayed for mating courtship purposes
He then sings to his intended, his own songs and mimicking other birds and noises
As he sings he moves about (dances) to attract the females attention
Once the male has attracted a female Breeding takes place (around May to August)
A male may take more than one female partner.
After mating the Female makes a nest from sticks leaves and twigs intertwined into a domed shape
She will receive no help at all from the male with any part of bringing up their young
The female superb Lyrebird will then lay one egg a brown blotchy looking egg
This hatches in approximately 6 weeks, when the new born chick (downy white) appears
and stays nest bound for a further 6 to 10 weeks