Albert's lyrebird (Menura alberti)

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Albert's lyrebird male displaying and calling
IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened NEAR
THREATENED

Top facts

  • The Albert’s lyrebird is endemic to Australia.
  • The  tail of the male Albert's lyrebird can reach up to 50 centimetres in length
  • The Albert's lyrebird was named after Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert.
  • Male lyrebirds take part in complex displays in order to attract a female.
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Albert's lyrebird fact file

Albert's lyrebird description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyMenuridae
GenusMenura (1)

Lyrebirds are well known for the male’s impressive courtship display, in which he shows off his magnificent tail. Albert’s lyrebirds have deep chestnut upperparts, with a reddish-buff throat and foreneck (2). Males have an extremely long tail that can reach 50 cm, and is glossy black above and silvery-grey below (2). Lyrebirds are astonishing mimics, giving calls that sound like other rainforest animals and even man-made cars and chainsaws (4).

Size
Male length: 90 cm (2)
Female length: 76 cm (2)
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Albert's lyrebird biology

Male lyrebirds take part in complex displays in order to attract a mate; these take place on platforms constructed from trampled vegetation on the forest floor (4). Whilst giving a range of calls, the male fans his striking tail and arches it over his back (3). Displays take place between May and August. After mating the female constructs a domed nest of sticks, into which she lays a single egg, which she then incubates alone (4).

Using their strong feet and claws, lyrebirds unearth invertebrates, such as spiders and insects on the forest floor (4). These unusual birds have weakly developed wings and rarely fly, even if disturbed (4).

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Albert's lyrebird range

Endemic to Australia, Albert’s lyrebird is now restricted to mountainous areas between the Nightcap Range in northeast New South Wales and the Mistake Range, southeast Queensland (3).

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Albert's lyrebird habitat

These rainforest birds are found in forests above 300 metres, where there is a dense understory; they are particularly associated with Antarctic beech (Nothofagus moorei) (2).

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Albert's lyrebird status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

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Albert's lyrebird threats

This area of eastern Australia was witness to much deforestation in the 19th century. Today the major threats to the survival of Albert’s lyrebird come from forest management practices, such as proposed Eucalyptus plantations (2). Albert’s lyrebird is a rainforest specialist, which appears unable to disperse between areas of unsuitable habitat. The resulting isolated subpopulations are at risk from disease or natural disasters, such as the fires that periodically sweep through the region (3).

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Albert's lyrebird conservation

Population studies have been carried our in order to assess the precise risk to this species (2). The protection of the limited viable habitat that remains will be vital in securing the survival of this intriguing bird. The lyrebird is the emblem of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

BirdLife International’s World Bird Database
http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/search/species_search.html

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. BirdLife International (August, 2003)
    http://www.birdlife.org
  3. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (August, 2003)
    http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
  4. University of Queensland (August, 2003)
    http://www.zen.uq.edu.au
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Image credit

Albert's lyrebird male displaying and calling  
Albert's lyrebird male displaying and calling

© Roger Brown / gettyimages.com

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