Superb Lyrebirds in Tasmania

To: "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Superb Lyrebirds in Tasmania
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:52:51 +1100
Hi Stephen,

Not that I have observed or heard Superb Lyrebirds in my 3 visits to
Tasmania. So this is not my information but yes it has often been
written that for at least some (many)years they mimicked mainland only
species and that this was passed on. Just part of the evidence that a
lot of what they mimic is copied from older lyrebirds. Though presumably
over time (years) and without further reinforcement from hearing these
sounds, they drop out of the repertoire or become too inaccurate to
recognise. Surely though they would have started mimicking local species
by now. (Many model species also are common to Vic & Tas.)

As far as nurture vs nature debate goes. The behaviour is nature, the
choice of items is nurture. Although a lot of their calls are their own
and many mistakes are made in thinking that some of their sounds are
mimicry, that are just their own noises and presumably instinctive. This
usually or always includes descriptions of chainsaw noises. 


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Stephen Ambrose
Sent: Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:17 AM
To: 'Tony Russell'; 'Chris'; 'Ralph Reid'
Cc: 'Birding-Aus'; 'Stephen Ambrose'
Subject: Superb Lyrebirds in Tasmania (was "Introduced

It would be interesting to know if the lyrebirds that were introduced
into Tasmania from the mainland in the 1930s & '40s continued to mimic
calls of some mainland bird species that aren't present in Tasmania (if
they did so beforehand), or if they readily began to mimic local bird
calls instead.

It would be even more interesting to know if any of the descendants of
the translocated lyrebirds mimic the calls of any mainland bird species
that their ancestors mimicked. 

Such information would help us understand better the nurture vs nature

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW 

Hi Ralph,

I recorded several Superb Lyrebirds in the Hastings Caves region in 2006
including a male making chainsaw noises in between it's Black Cockatoo
and Rosella mimicry. I'd say well established at this point unless
things have changed in recently.



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