Lyre-bird - Mosman, NSW


The lyre-bird is found only in the heavily-forested areas of the eastern coastal districts. Dark brown in colour and about the size of a domestic fowl, it gains its name from the shape of the male bird's tail-feathers which, when carried in an upright position, closely resemble the ancient Grecian lyre. The bird is a highly-accomplished mimic and can imitate almost any sound. Frequently the noise of a motor horn or the buzzing of a circular saw can be heard mixed in its own song which otherwise is remarkably liquid and melodious.

The male bird is famous for the "dance" which he performs during the nesting season. For this purpose he clears a space in the bush, usually near the nest, and builds a small mound of bark and leaves. Here he will strut and posture, sing and dance, and display his fine tail, either alone or before an audience of one or more hens. Owing to the bird's extremely shy disposition, however, it is not easy to surprise him at these antics. The large dome-shaped nest is built in a tree-fern or vine at heights varying from one to six metres above the ground. The egg is a blotched purple in colour, and only one is laid each year. Five weeks are required to hatch it, and the young bird remains a further five weeks in the nest.


Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Rd., Mosman, NSW, 2088
Mosman, NSW, 2088