This Talented Lyrebird Can Mimic Chainsaws and Car Alarms

Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia Commons

Forget peacocks. This Australian songbird may not have all the fancy colors, but it takes showing off for mates one step further.

In addition to its striking plumage, which it fans out over its head and body during courtship displays, the lyrebird has the impressive ability to imitate almost any sound it hears. Typically these are songs and calls from other birds and animals — but occasionally, they include manmade sounds like camera shutters, car alarms, and even chainsaws!

There are only two known species: the superb lyrebird and the lesser known Albert’s lyrebird. Both are native to Australia and commonly found in rainforests.

Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia Commons

The birds sing all year long, but during mating season in June and August, the males take it up a notch, singing for hours at a time. As they belt out their tunes, they shake their tail feathers and perform elaborate choreography to impress the females. 

Lyrebird songs are a mix of their own unique calls, songs they’ve learned from older males and the sounds of other species. In fact, they have been heard mimicking up to 20 different bird species — and they’re so good, they sometimes fool the bird they’re imitating.

But while they are capable of mimicking man-made sounds, it’s unlikely that most birds do so in the wild. The ones who can mimic toy guns and other artificial sounds have most likely been exposed to human activities in captivity.

Check out this video of a lyrebird in action:

Listen to another lyrebird mimic the sounds of a construction site in the unbelievable footage below:

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