Sunday, February 3, 2013

A live bio-audio player - Lyrebird!

At my younger age there was gossip in our group about ghosts' voices that were heard at nights demanding delicacies from the passersby. Now, I wonder whether it could have been the mimicked sounds of a bird! Here, in South India, mynahs and black drongos mimic and then forget the sounds instantly. But it is said that there is a bird that records, remembers and repeats sounds that it heard 30 years back!
The bird having this capability is the Lyrebird (Menura novaehollollandiae, Superb Lyrebird, Bird-of Paradise, Peacock-wren). It is a songbird (Passerine) that lives only in Australia. The male bird of this species has coloured feathers and lyre-like tail feathers, with which it enchants all female birds during its courting display and dancing.

Added to this the bird has yet another exciting capability of mimicking all music, voice or noise that it hears - in fidelity to them! It mimics other birds' songs, dingo's sounds and even human voices!


This lyrebird is a ground dweller and can fly downhill only by gliding. It is seen in rainforests; feeds on beetles, moths and larvae. Female is smaller and not beautiful as male. It lays a single egg only and the chick hatches in 50 days. Lyrebirds have a lifespan of 30 years. They are preyed upon by cats and foxes.
This wonder bird of Australia continues to enchant all, as it did in ancient times - both by its feathers and mimicry!
View and listen to Lyrebird's mimicry here:
Mimicry by Lyrebird!

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