Mimicry by Lyrebird

To: "Syd Curtis" <>
Subject: Mimicry by Lyrebird
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 15:13:02 +1000
Hi Syd & anyone still interested,

I'd suggest the amount of ideas that these lyrebirds mimic human made sounds is 
one of the biggest myths of Aussie bird folklore. The examples given are mostly 
misunderstandings of their normal calls or are from unusual circumstances 
(captivity, imprinted, etc). Given that lyrebirds don't vocally relate in any 
way to the birds that they copy, they could equally pick up other sounds to 
include in their mimicry, just as they do with birds. Indeed what is 
interesting, is that they either, always or generally don't mimic available 
human made sounds.

Beyond that, I suspect that Syd's comments are sort of being quite particular 
there. Sure there is variety in the length of these bird's tail feathers. Apart 
from that they are somewhat curved and it might depend on how they are 
measured, also whether the feathers are measured in the bird or moulted lose 
feathers. As for your "Not very similar" in response to: "The Albert's lyrebird 
is similar in appearance to the superb ..." I'd say, sure they are similar. I 
haven't seen a live Albert's Lyrebird but can tell they are similar. Yes there 
are differences and isn't it reasonable to say they are as similar as are many 
other pairs of congeneric or same family species? Just as our fantails are 
similar, whistlers are similar, etc.  It is largely a person's familiarity with 
the group that creates their own impression of how similar or not they are. I'd 
call many sea birds similar, mainly because I don't have the experience of 
someone like Mike Carter in that area.


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