The Soberbreasted Lyrebird is scientifically named as the Menura Novaehollandiae, it is one of the largest species of songbirds that belongs to the group of Songbirds . It is a bird endemic to the Australian regions and has also been introduced in the Tasmanian regions. In the following article we will know more about this very peculiar species of bird which is characteristic for its great song and imitation of other sounds it makes.
The Menura Novaehollandiae
The Sober-winged Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) is one of the Australian Songbirds, also one of the 2 species of the family Menuridae. It is one of the largest songbirds in the bird world, and is noted for its elaborate tail and excellent mimicry. The species is endemic to the southeast of the country and has been introduced to the Tasmanian regions. According to David Attenborough, the species tends to display the most sophisticated voice abilities within the animal kingdom. The excellent bird – Lira Soberbia appears on the reverse of the Australian 10-cent coin.
The excellent Superb Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) is an Australian songbird about the size of a Common Pheasant, males tend to be about 100 cm long and in the case of females they are usually 76 to 80 cm. Males tend to weigh about 1.1 kg, and females weigh only about 890 grams. Among all extant songbirds, only the common and thick-billed crows regularly outweigh it, and only the more slender Black Sickleback.
The plumage of this bird is brownish-gray on the upper body with a red-brown wash on the coverts and wings. The underparts are grayish brown. The wings are round and short, with a wingspan of 68 to 76 cm, and are capable of only weak flight. The legs and feet of the same are long and strong, and they are able to run quickly on the ground and get to dig in order to eat.
The ornamented tail of the male tends to be between 55 and 70 cm long, and has about 16 feathers, with the 2 outermost feathers together forming the shape of a lyre. Below are 2 protective tufts and 12 long lace-like feathers, these are known as filaments. It takes about 7 years for the tail to fully develop. During courtship displays, the male reverses his tail over his head, fanning his feathers to form a silvery white canopy. Males and young females have brown tail feathers that camouflage against the forest floor.
An endemic Australian bird, the Sovereign Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) can be found in the forests of southeastern Australia, from southern Victoria to southeastern Queensland. Its diet consists mainly of small invertebrates found on the forest floor or in rotting logs. In the 1930s, small numbers were introduced into the Tasmanian regions amidst unfounded fears that it was in danger of extinction.
The Tasmanian population is now thriving and increasing. Now widespread and also very common throughout its wide range, the excellent specimen of the species is considered to be of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Sober-winged Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) are terrestrial birds that typically live solitary lives. Adults usually live alone in territories, but young birds without territories may associate in small groups that may be either single or mixed. These groups, in turn, may travel for a time with territorial adults when they cross their territory.
The Superb Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) tends to breed in the depths of the winter seasons. Adult males begin singing half an hour before sunrise from the highest places above the forest floor. Sober-winged Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) sing less frequently at other times of the year, but a walk through their habitat on a rainy or foggy day will sometimes find them active.
Sober-winged Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) have a promiscuous mating system. During the breeding season, adult females and males are the ones who defend separate territories and only females are responsible for the care of the young. A female may visit several males before she mates but it is not known if she mates more than once. The female lays a single egg and builds a domed nest often camouflaging it with ferns or in other cases with moss. The offspring spends about 9 months with the female before becoming independent. (see article: House Finch ).
The Voice or Call
A bird – Sovereign Lyre ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) sings in a suburban courtyard in the Sydney region, imitating various Australian native bird calls. The excellent bird – Lira Soberbia has an extraordinary ability to imitate with great precision a great variety of sounds. Both male and female Menura Novaehollandiae usually sing, but males are louder and sing more often.
In David Attenborough ‘s Life of Birds, the bird – Sober Lyre is described as being able to imitate 20 species of birds and their calls, and a male is shown imitating a car alarm, chainsaw and various camera shutters. However, 2 of Attenborough’s 3 lyrebirds were captive birds.
In 2013, a recording of a Superb Lyrebird mimicking the sounds of a set of electronic gunfire, laborers and chainsaws was added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia record. The vocalizations of some Superb Lyrebirds in the New England area of New South Wales have a flute-like timbre.
Soberberbia Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) are ecosystem engineers that are important to the overall health of the eucalyptus forests they inhabit. Their feeding behavior changes the structure of the forest floor, accelerating the decomposition of forest litter and thereby reducing the amount of fuel for forest fires.
The Superb Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) is one of 2 waders in the family Menuridae, the other being Albert’s Lyrebird, which is much rarer than the former.
The scientific name of this species has previously been given as Menura Superba. The bird was first illustrated and scientifically described as such by Major General Thomas Davies on November 4, 1800 to the Linnean Society of London. His work shows the tail feathers correctly visualized.
Sovereign Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) are ancient Australian animals. The Australian Museum has fossils of lyrebirds dating back more than 15 million years. Menura tyawanoides a prehistoric species has been described from fossils from the early Miocene period which were found at the famous Riversleigh site.
Sober-winged Lyrebirds ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) tend to eat mainly adult and immature invertebrates which are obtained from the ground and under bark; they also occasionally take small vertebrates and seeds as part of their diet.
The Sovereign Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) usually forages on the ground, which it scrapes with its powerful legs. It eats insects, worms, snails and other types of ground animals.
The male’s courtship process consists of songs and the unfurling of the tail train over the body. A male may mate with many different females. Each female usually builds a nest on the ground, it can also be in a tree stump, tree fern or tree parts of the plant. Using the feathers for upholstery. The female lays as few as 1 egg, which is gray to purplish-brown, with dark spotting. Without the support of the male, the female is in charge of incubating the egg and raising the chick.
On the other hand, the “own” calls of the Sovereign Lyrebird ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) is a kind of “blik blik” or like a “bilik bilik”, the tail of the Sovereign Lyrebird imitates the voices of other species of different birds and also the calls of various mammals. It even often imitates environmental noise, such as the sound of locomotives, the clicking of cameras or the sounds of chainsaws.
Therefore, according to the well-known historian of science named Barbara Wittmann, the beautiful tail of this bird Lira Soberbia ( Menura Novaehollandiae ) is probably the only animal, which integrated into its song the sounds of the disappearance of its own living space.