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Friday, November 19, 2010

Creature Feature: Lyrebird.



"All bird entries are the same, blah blah blah." Yes, many of the bird entries I write simply consist of "the male looks awesome, the female sucks." Although this is also true for this entry, there is a little bit more icing to look forward to on his cake.

The superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) looks almost like a smaller, less colorful peacock. It is native to the forests of Australia (no spread to Indonesia this time). Being one of Australia's most recognizable native birds, it (OK, specifically the male) has been featured on money.



As the world's third largest and heaviest songbird, it is about the size and weight of a pheasant. (There is subtle difference between this bird's tail and a peacock's: a peacock's stunning feathers are on his back, supported by tailfeathers.) The male of the species has a pheasant-y tail to match his pheasant-y size:

 

For those of you who have no clue how the lyrebird got its name, a lyre is a sort of hand-held harp common in ancient Greek art. It resembles this bird's tail very well, but before you start forming conspiracy theories, the Greeks had no idea this Australian bird existed.

This bird is also one of the most amazing mimics I have ever heard:


The bird world has some very good mimics. Rarely are such talents displayed rapid-fire as they are here. The lyrebird copies the most complex sounds he can muster and sings in competition with other lyrebirds. This bird imitates a kookabura, a camera, a siren, and chainsaws just to get his mate.

Hell, y'know what? I'd mate with that bird in a heartbeat; he's just too awesome for anything less.

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