Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Animal of the Week: Lyrebird

The lyrebird is a native Australian bird famous for it's ability to mimic other bird's calls as well as other sounds it hears in the forest. Males will clear a space on the forest floor and then proceed to perform the most elaborate song they can to attract a female. They can imitate up to 20 other species of birds, sometimes fooling the species they are imitating. Not only can they imitate other birds but also man made sounds including humans talking, babies crying, camera shutters and car alarms. Females also have the ability to mimic but are less skilled than males. Check out this video to see a few of his talents:

The male lyre bird also possesses an impressive set of tail feathers which it will fan as part of the mating ritual. The tail has sixteen feathers, with the two outermost together forming the shape of a lyre. Next within are two guard plumes and then twelve long, lace-like feathers, known as filamentaries. This tail is fully developed by the age of seven which is generally when they reach sexual maturity.

Little is known about the lyrebird's behaviour as they are very shy and difficult to approach. When alerted they tend to freeze, give an alarm call and then hide or flee. However their diet has been noted as consisting mainly of insects with the occasional from or small reptile. Lyrebirds are ground dwelling birds and thus use their feet to scratch around the forest floor debris.

When it comes to bushfires, you'd think that these non-flying birds may be at a disadvantage. However in previous bushfires when firefighters have hid down mine shafts, they have also been accompanied by many lyrebirds. With such intelligence, maybe this is one of the reason's lyrebirds have found themselves on the Australian ten cent coin.

Lyrebird Medicine
The lyrebird is renowned for it's impressive vocal abilities. To be successful in finding a mate, each male lyrebird must be a skilled communicator. The lyrebird's message is to be articulate and creative in your communications. To be successful with a task, you must utilise your creativity to enthrall and engage others. Charisma and wit will be far more effective than force and argument.

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