Unparalleled natural mimics and rarely seen in the wild, the Lyrebird is one of Australia’s most famous native birds.

Although rarely seen in the wild, the lyrebird is one of Australia’s most famous and extraordinary native birds. Not only are they strikingly beautiful, they’re also unparalleled natural mimics, capable of perfectly imitating practically any sound – other birdcalls, crying infants, chainsaws, camera shutters, explosions, car alarms – even a passing train (which can be unnerving when you’re wandering deep in a forest). It’s even able to produce more than one call at a time, so that it can impersonate a flock of birds if it so chooses. It’s able to do this because its syrinx (like a larynx, but for birds) is the strongest and most sophisticated of all songbirds.

Where // Superb Lyrebirds live in forests in Vic, NSW and Tas. The vulnerable Albert’s Lyrebird only exists in a small area of Qld’s subtropical rainforest.

Did you know? // A lyrebird’s song recorded in 1969 was later discovered to be the modified mimicking and interweaving of two popular tunes from the 1930s. Exhaustive further research finally turned up a farmer in the area who’d been playing the tunes on his flute.


SEE THE FULL LIST100 Things you can only do in Australia


Enjoy this article?

You can find it in Issue 20 along with
loads of other great stories and tips.