Working with the Albert’s lyrebird Male Albert’s lyrebirds display during the winter months, performing their elaborate song and dance displays on a platform made of vines and branches. The superb lyrebird, once seriously threatened by habitat destruction, is now classified as common. Superb lyrebirds prefer living in dense rainforests, which helps protect them from predators. Only three people had succeeded before me and I was determined to be the fourth. [9][6], Albert's lyrebird appears to feed mainly on insects (including beetles) and their larvae, and other soil-dwelling invertebrates. By the end of the nineteenth century, an extensive lowland area of rainforest in northern New South Whales, within the range of the Albert's lyrebird, had been cleared for dairying—a loss of some 185,000 acres (75,000 ha). Construction of the nest may take at least three weeks. The lacy plumage accompanying the tail is known as “filamentaries.”. The lyrebird has been featured as a symbol and emblem many times, especially in New South Wales and Victoria (where the Superb Lyrebird has its natural habitat) – and in Queensland in Australia (where Albert's Lyrebird has its natural habitat). Luckily, we were able to increase protections for both lyrebirds and their rainforest habitat, leading to a steady re-growth of population. Despite their comical mimicry, lyrebirds are still wild animals. It is rarely seen because its range is restricted to deep rainforest. More rarely, they will feed on lizards, amphipods, frogs, and seeds. Much of the lyrebird's habitat was cleared during the 19th century. It has brown and grey plumage, with a slight blue tint to the head and tail feathers. The Lyrebirds are a small Australian family composed of just two species: the Superb Lyrebird (left and below in superb photos by Hans & Judy Beste) and Albert's Lyrebird Menura alberti. One other lyrebird found in Australia is Albert's Lyrebird, ... Habitat: It is a ground-dwelling species in moist forests, but roosts in trees at night. “Menura novaehollandiae”: Superb Lyrebird The nest is lined with ferns, feathers, moss and rootlets. Steele, eds. [3] Although the species was still widespread in lowland areas at the beginning of the 20th century,[6] the continued clearing of habitat since then has driven most populations into higher altitude forests, usually at least 300 metres above sea level.[8][6]. Male lyrebirds defend territories from other males in an attempt to impress female lyrebirds. Lyrebirds are capable of some impressive mimicry. Some of the passages of song begin with a soft, mellow sound that rises clearer and louder, which has been likened to the howl of a dingo. Much of the lyrebird’s habitat was cleared during the 19th century (Garnett and Crowley 2000) but most lyrebirds now live in areas managed for conservation. They will feed on a wide variety of invertebrates, including cockroaches, beetles, larvae, earwigs, and moths. In addition to their vocal skills, you will find that they are quite unique creatures. There are two species of Lyrebirds that make up the genus “Menura” as well as the family “Menuridae”. "Lyrebirds: veiled in secrecy. Albert’s lyrebird has a very restricted habitat and had been listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, but because the species and its habitat were carefully managed, the species was re-assessed to near threatened in 2009. They are occasionally recorded in areas with mixed eucalypt forest, with a mesic understorey, around gullies and lower slopes, and with small amounts of rainforest in wet gullies. The extent of the Albert lyrebird's distribution has apparently declined significantly following European settlement. Because they are not fantastic flyers, they must be provided with plenty of space on the ground, with lots of foliage for hiding places. Female lyrebirds build their own nests and incubate the eggs alone. [5], Albert's lyrebird usually occurs singly or in pairs, or rarely in groups of three. It's range is limited to the higher altitude ranges along the Sub Coastal Queensland / New South Wales border. [9] Data on territory sizes has only been recorded for males. Albert's Lyrebird occurs in the subtropical rainforests of Australia, in a small area on the state border between New South Wales and Queensland. They can be found in rainforests of southeast Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. The Alberts Lyrebird is the lesser known relative of the Superb Lyrebird. Albert’s lyrebird scratches up leaf litter looking for insects (like beetles) and their larvae. The eggs can vary greatly in colour and, sometimes, shape, but are usually shaded brown or grey with spots and blotches, and sometimes other markings, of varying tones of brown and grey. In zoos, lyrebirds are given plenty of enclosure space to roam. When responding to threats, lyrebirds will freeze, sound an alert call, or seek cover and hide. Both this species and the superb lyrebird have powerful, flexible voices and use a mixture of their own calls and mimicry of other species in long unbroken passages of song. [6], Females sometimes nest close to sites used the previous year; occasionally, nest-sites may be re-used. The Superb lyrebird is much larger and has a showier tail compared to the other type, the Albert lyrebird. Lyrebirds have unique plumes of neutral-coloured tailfeathers. [7], The extent of the Albert lyrebird's distribution has apparently declined significantly following European settlement. They bathe daily in still pools or slow-running streams. In New South Wales it is found only in the far north of the Northern Rivers region, along the Border Ranges and in Nightcap National Park in the east, possibly as far west as Koreelah National Park. We know very little about the social life of wild lyrebirds, or their natural behavior. [3][4], Global warming and its anticipated effects (habitat change, alteration to fire frequency/intensity) could be a potential threat to the lyrebird in the future and large-scale fires could potentially impact upon the entire population. [9], Clutch-size is a single egg. [2], The major threats to Albert's lyrebird include the intense management of forests and the replacement of optimal habitat with plantations of unsuitable species, such as eucalypts or hoop pines;[3] invasion of logged or otherwise damaged habitat by weeds, especially Lantana camara, which reduces suitability of the habitat; damage to habitat by grazing stock; encroachment of urban or rural development close to habitat of Albert's lyrebirds; and predation by introduced red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), feral dogs and cats, and domestic dogs and cats, where the birds are located close to human settlements. Because they are restricted to such a small range, this hunting, in addition to habitat destruction, resulted in rapid population decline. Lyrebirds do not reproduce until they are between 5 and 8 years old. The superb lyrebird is found in parts of southeast Queensland, and southeast Victoria, and in Tasmania . [6], Steep moist valleys and other areas that are physically or geographically protected from wildfire are likely to offer important refuge habitat. They are also found in some parts of Melbourne, and Sydney. [11], In New South Wales, the birds are listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales), as of December 2013, and in Queensland they are listed as near threatened under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland), as of July 2012. A large concentration is found in the Mount Warning area. The bird's distribution is now restricted to several small areas of mountain ranges in the vicinity of far south-east Queensland and far north-east New South Wales; with much of the remaining habitat occurring in reserves. This was the target species for the trip, the Albert's Lyrebird - a rare and lesser known cousin to the famous Superb Lyrebird, but with an equally beautiful song. The male has a spectacular tail composed of: (1) a central pair of long ribbon-like dark-brown median plumes; (2) six pairs of long, filmy and luxuriant filamentary feathers, which are black-brown above and dark grey below; and (3) a long broad fully webbed outermost pair of lyrates, which are black-brown above and dark grey below. Superb lyrebirds have a relatively wide distribution, especially compared to Albert’s lyrebirds. They nest beneath the canopy, usually in the darkest areas of the forest. The voice can create sounds at one moment deep and resonant, switch to high thin squeaks and trills, then change again to harsh noises. These birds require a large amount and variety of insects to keep them healthy, and this can be difficult to provide. The female alone builds the dome-shaped nest, which has a side entrance; it is composed of sticks, fern fronds, rootlets, bark, pieces of palm leaf and moss, and is lined with moss, fine plant material, and feathers. These fascinating birds mimic sounds from the environment around them. courtship display of the rare Albert’s lyrebird. "Albert's lyrebird foraging from epiphytes in rainforest sub-canopy. Nests may also be placed in a variety of other sites, including on the ground on steep slopes, on creek banks, between buttress roots of fig (Ficus) trees, amongst tree stumps, at the base of palm trees, amongst ferns, in dense shrubs or occasionally in tree forks. The Albert lyrebird is named after Prince Albert and usually lives in New South Wales and Queensland. Even when calling strongly, this shy and elusive species is not easily sighted in the dense tangled vegetation of its habitat with dim light and the birds notoriously wary.