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common name for Australian passerine birds named for the appearance of the tail plumage of the male superb lyrebird, Menura novaehollandiae, when displayed during courtship. There are only two species. The superb lyrebird, about the size of a rooster, is brown above and ash below. It has a long, pointed bill, a longish neck, and large, strong legs and feet with which it runs swiftly. The Albert's lyrebird is smaller. Lyrebirds are shy, solitary forest and scrubland dwellers. They seldom fly; at night they roost in trees. Their diet consists of insects, worms, and land crustaceans and mollusks. The frame of the lyre, which develops when the male is three years old, is formed by the two long (2 ft/60 cm), curved outer tail feathers; the "strings" between are lacy white quills. The lyre position of the tail is assumed only fleetingly during the courtship dance, which is performed on a mound of earth scraped together by the male. This dance is accompanied by elaborate vocalizing, the birds being excellent mimics as well as distinctive singers. The female lays her single egg in a bulky domed nest built on or near the ground. The lyrebird appears on the seals and stamps of Australia. Lyrebirds are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Menuridae.



any one bird of the family Menuridae of the order Passeriformes. The body and tail lengths together measure 75–130 cm; the wings are rounded. The tail of the males has two uniquely curved feathers that resemble a lyre (hence the name “lyrebird”), 12 lacey plumes, and 2 ribbon-like feathers. The plumage is loose and brown-gray, and the legs are strong, with blunt claws. There is one genus, Menura, with two species—the superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) and Prince Albert’s lyrebird (M. alberti). Distributed in southeastern Australia, these birds were imported to Tasmania in 1934. Lyrebirds live in hiding in dense forests. They sing well, mimicking the songs of other birds and various other sounds. The breeding period begins in the fall (March-April), when the males engage in mating games. The roofed nests are built solely by the females on the ground, in the clefts of rocks, or in trees. In June or July (rarely later) the female lays one egg, the size of a hen’s egg, which she incubates for approximately 45 days. The nestling has sparse black down on its back. The lyrebird feeds on insects, mollusks, and seeds, which are gathered from the ground by scratching the forest floor.


Australian bird; one of the most famous mimic species. [Ornithology: Sparks, 116]
See: Mimicry


either of two pheasant-like Australian birds, Menura superba and M. alberti, constituting the family Menuridae: during courtship displays, the male spreads its tail into the shape of a lyre
References in periodicals archive ?
A detailed description of the press is found in chapter 11 of Davidson's Lyrebird Rising, 218-60.
His portrayal of my protagonist, lyrebird James, is exquisite; every filamentary feather just so, and without a hint of anthropomorphism, he has imbued James with cheek and charm.
Still, the male lyrebird sings, dances, and performs every single day--all day--of its winter life.
Although some birds learn to sing in a matter of weeks, it takes an Albert's lyrebird at least six years to successfully learn this song.
No such fantasy of adventure attaches to Cupcake, although his story ends more disastrously than Roland's since he does not have the last word: Lyrebird does.
He sold his stuffed tanagers, his lyrebird, his Quetzal; sold his six hawkbill tortoise shells, the pearl in the shape of a pig, the skull of a wistiti.
Protected natural areas are there to protect biodiversity and act as refuges for wildlife -- in the case of Springbrook National Park, for threatened species such as the Albert's lyrebird.
The interactive experience is inspired by the Australian lyrebird and tells a story full of sounds and colours.
Each story has its own voice - whether it's a lyrebird in an Australian forest, a person who has passed away or the baby of a phantom pregnancy.
The author's lyrical analysis positions the role of the lyrebird as the quintessential Australian mimic of place alongside French post-structuralist Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytical view of mimicry as 'harmonizing .
This beautiful picture book relates a series of encounters in the 1930's between a gardener, Edith Wilkinson, and a superb Lyrebird in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria.
com/ Lyrebird Victoria, Australia: Lyrebird Press, The University of Melbourne http://www.