Superb Lyrebird

Quick Facts

Length: 90 cm
Height: -
Weight: 975 grams
Colour: -
Habitat: Moist forests
Food: Insects, spiders, worms and occasionally seeds
Predators: -
Status: Secure in NSW, TAS & VIC. Not Present in all other states and territories in Australia

The Superb Lyrebird looks like a large brown pheasant. The wings are rufous in colour and the bill, legs and feet are black. The adult male has an ornate tail, with special curved feathers that, in display, assume the shape of a lyre. The tails of females and young males are long, but lack the specialised feather. Females are smaller than males.

One other lyrebird found in Australia is Albert's Lyrebird, which is restricted to an area around the Border Ranges, on the Queensland-New South Wales border. This bird is redder in colour and the male's tail is less elaborate.

The Superb Lyrebird is sedentary and occurs in the south-eastern Australian mainland and southern Tasmania.

It is a ground-dwelling species in moist forests, but roosts in trees at night. Birds are sedentary, rarely moving large distances and generally staying in a home-range about 10 km in diameter.

Superb Lyrebirds feed on insects, spiders, worms and, occasionally, seeds. It finds food by scratching with its feet through the leaf-litter. Birds tend to forage alone, but females and young males may be seen feeding together.

The male secures a territory, attracting potential mates by singing and dancing on one of several mounds within it, while throwing the tail forward over the body and shaking it in display. The male will mate with several females. The female alone builds the nest, incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014
BirdLife Australia -


Signup for our monthly newsletter the "e-Telegraph"