Captured on video by Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Anastasia Dalziell and University of Western Sydney’s Justin Welbergen, this is a male Superb Lyrebird, an Australian songbird who is not only a fancy dancer, as shown, but can also skillfully mimic the sounds of the environment around it. From The Lab of Ornithology:
“On a carefully cleared patch of the forest floor, he begins the courtship display by fanning elaborate tail plumes over his head and quivering them to achieve a shimmering effect. He then coordinates a precisely timed song-and-dance sequence, and finishes off with a rapid-fire recital of songs borrowed from other species. When the evolutionary pressure to impress mates is at its strongest, the results can look and sound downright bizarre.”
…As bizarre as a bird that sounds like a chainsaw. You may know the Lyrebird from the famous BBC Earth clip with Sir David Attenborough. This particular bird was likely one of the captive lyrebirds at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary or Adelaide Zoo where they’d heard plenty of human activity, including tourist visits, other animals, and extensive construction.
Listen to it mimic a camera shutter, a kookaburra, a car alarm, and more:
Related exploration: The Lab’s All About Fancy Males interactive feature.
• The Birds of Paradise Project
• Bird Song Hero
• The surprising alarm-like call of the world’s loudest bird
• The Greater Sage-Grouse’s courtship ritual & The Sagebrush Sea