Lyrebirds at the Cathedral ranges

Subject: Lyrebirds at the Cathedral ranges
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:02:03 +1100
Yes, there have been studies on predation of lyrebirds, and an interesting
summary of two such studies is provided by L.H. Smith in his book "The Life
of the Lyrebird" (1988), page 25.

He writes that Reilly (1970) looked at nests in Sherbrooke Forest during
the period 1958-65. Of 44 eggs laid, 38 hatched, 28 of these chicks later
being identified by their colour bands outside the nest. This represents 63
percent of the original eggs.

By comparison, Lill (1980) looked at nests in the south-eastern part of
Sherbrooke Forest and the Maroondah catchment area near Healesville. He
found that of 56 eggs laid the success rate was only between 11 and 20
percent. Predation accounted for 69 percent of these losses, and foxes,
domestic dogs and feral cats were listed as possible predators.

Smith speculates that this disparity could be due to the fact that during
the period 1958-65, a vigorous poisoning campaign was conducted against the
fox in the Sherbrooke area.

Like Merrilyn, I have never seen sure signs of a lyrebird being killed, but
I have occasionally seen bunches of tail feathers, indicating perhaps a
close call with a predator. Although lyrebirds do moult their tail feathers
all at once I doubt they would all literally be dropped in a heap!




Reilly, P.N. (1970), "Nesting of the Superb Lyrebird in Sherbrooke Forest,
Victoria", Emu 70: 73-8.

Lill, A. (1980), "Reproductive success and nest predation in the Superb
Lyrebird", Aust. Wildl. Res. 7: 271-80.

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