As Kevin hints, the lyrebirds in the musket may not be lyrebirds as we know them. Five minutes on Google (dangerous!) sourced a few links, including
to muskets of lyrebirds in medieval texts, describing presumably peacocks, The communal noun could then have been transferred to our lyrebirds.
From: Kevin Windle [
Sent: Saturday, 22 July 2017 1:06 PM
To: David McDonald (personal) <>; CanberraBirds <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] A musket of lyrebirds?
Could the Yowie Man have meant 'muster'? Chambers 20th Century Dictionary includes 'a company of peacocks' as one of the senses of 'muster'. This meaning might have been transferred to lyrebirds.
I was interested to see that one of the meanings of 'musket' is 'male sparrowhawk' (also Chambers 20th Cent.)
From: David McDonald (personal) <>
Sent: 22 July 2017 11:08:34
Subject: [canberrabirds] A musket of lyrebirds?
Today's Canberra Times (Panorama p. 7, Tim The Yowie Man) states under 'Fact File' that 'A group of lyrebirds is called a musket'.
I had not heard that before. Neither the Oxford nor Macquarie dictionaries show that meaning of 'musket'.
What's more, both species of lyrebirds tend to be solitary; we don't often see them in groups.
Does anyone have any insights on this usage of 'musket'?
Thanks - David
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