Not like the Word of God - HANZAB lyrebird error

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Subject: Not like the Word of God - HANZAB lyrebird error
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 12:24:24 +1000
Jill Denning discovered that HANZAB is not like the Word of God, and drew
attention (Sun, 24 Mar 2002 14:01) to a mistake in the legend relating to
the terns in Plate 44, Volume 3.

Not so serious, but perhaps worth noting by anyone with a copy of Volume 5,
is the error in Figure 4, on page 141, illustrating Albert's Lyrebird lyrate
feathers.  Sketch (c) is said to be a lyrate of an adult male. (It's wrong.)

("Lyrate", a term coined by Len Smith, refers to the outermost pair of
rectrices of a lyrebird, which in the Superb have the 'lyrate' shape.)

The lyrates of a male Albert's lyrebird are fully webbed - the barbs are
close together and linked by barbules as in for example, flight feathers.
No. 2 in Plate 4, opposite page 129, shows this, and the text confirms it.
Sketch (c) on p. 141, showing the barbs separated, is incorrect.

Also the text describes the filamentaries thus:

    "Filamentaries long and very broad (c. 150 mm wide) with much-reduced
barbules on both inner and outer webs of distal half of feathers; all
filamentaries have a slight concave curve to the dorsal surface, causing
feathers to curve upwards."

As with the Superb, the barbs of an Albert's filamentary feathers are well
separated for much of their length, but with the Albert they are not
separated for about the basal one-third of their length.

Plate 4, nos. 1 and 2, are incorrect: in 1, the tail is shown as straight
instead of curved upwards; in 2, the filamentaries as shown lack the basal
fully webbed portion.

That however, is perhaps being unnecessarily critical.  The two
illustrations are clearly recognisable as Albert's Lyrebirds.  And in the
field, the two lyrebird species can simply be separated by location.  They
don't overlap.  And they are not likely to be mistaken for any other

It is perhaps, a tribute to the extreme shyness of Albert's Lyrebirds that
they are not correctly illustrated: probably the illustrators have never
seen one in the wild, and all they have to go on are museum skins and
previous illustrations, and so the errors persist from book to book.

Syd Curtis in Brisbane.

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