birding-aus Lyrebird Performance

Subject: birding-aus Lyrebird Performance
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 00:20:15 PDT
8th June 1999

What a great morning! I went out to find a good location to take my group for a lyrebird workshop I'm running on the weekend. Well! I was rewarded with close uninterrupted views of a mature male Superb Lyrebird displaying three times over.

The bird seemed completely unconcerned as I quietly followed him from one display mound to another and each time he went through his entire performance of at least 20 mimicked species (see below), culminating in the rhythmical dance accompanied by his own 'clock clock clickety clickety click' calls. After this would be a few minutes of subdued clicking with the tail feathers brought together over his head in what has been called the 'invitation display'. Then the bird would suddenly stop and silently disappear into the surrounding bush, only to start the whole performance again a few minutes later at a nearby mound. In 15 years of watching lyrebirds these were the best views of a display I've ever had.

Following is a list of bird sounds mimicked by this particular bird (which was near Mount Victoria) listed in order of preference (i.e. from those mimicked most often to those mimicked least often), according to my hurriedly jotted notes:

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo (adults and immatures)
White-eared Honeyeater
Red Wattlebird
Pied Currawong
Crimson Rosella (whistling notes and flock in flight)
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Laughing Kookaburra
Golden Whistler
Brown Thornbill
Eastern Spinebill
White-throated Treecreeper
Pied Currawong juvenile being fed
Red-browed Treecreeper
Bill-snap of Red Wattlebird
Eastern Whipbird male
Eastern Whipbird female
Eastern Whipbird chortling calls
Grey Butcherbird
Gang-gang Cockatoo
New Holland Honeyeater
Grey Shrike-thrush (only during rhythmic dance stage)
plus a few unidentified small bird sounds.

I hope he repeats the performance on Sunday morning!


Carol Probets
Katoomba NSW
(in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney)

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