Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Superb Lyrebird

Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae), Australia.

We will now trek into the deepest forests of Australia, where we will attempt to translate the language of birds. Specifically, we will investigate the incredibly complex vocalizations of the Superb Lyrebird. You won't believe the sounds that this amazing creature can imitate. Watch all the way through for the most bizarre calls:



What a fascinating language. It's just unfortunate that it now includes elements of our destructive "vernacular", too.

What do you think will be the next addition to the Lyrebird's dialect?

Can you help me translate?

10 comments:

lisa q. said...

whoa! that is crazy! talk about a talented impersonator! :P

Sindhu said...

Beautiful bird and Nice shot!

Translator said...

Thanks, guys! It is pretty crazy that the bird can sound like chainsaws, eh? Kinda sad, too.

paisley said...

is this for real,,, or is this a funny video??? i can't tell....

Gaddy Bergmann said...

That is one impressive bird, but like Translator, I am saddened that it even has the opportunity to learn the sound of car alarms and chainsaws.

Translator said...

Paisley - you bet it's real. Our old friend David Attenborough is not known for joking!

Gaddy - yep. Pretty sad stuff. Perhaps this bird has those vocal abilities for a reason. To help us reflect on our poor stewardship of the wild. Don't know.

Gerri said...

Birds amaze me. I used to have an African Grey parrot that could mimic almost any sound he wanted to.. and it was bizarre hearing water running when it wasn't, or hearing my then-husband calling my name when he wasn't home.

Great find on this bird, Translator. He's pretty spectacular.

Seems to me, the term "bird-brain" should be a compliment. They're a lot smarter and more talented than most people can imagine.

Libertan said...

It's from 'The Life of Birds,' the definitive series on bird life. The BBC, naturally.

The much maligned Starling is an imitator also, quite accomplished. in captivity it can learn to talk (c.f. Arnie the Darling Starling) and in the wild imitates such birds as the red tailed hawk and killdeer. It's also one of the few species in which the female also sings.

As for bird brains, the Clark's Nutcracker, for example, has one of the best long term memories of any animal. Birds are also good problem solvers, one of the few animals to have been seen using tools (woodpecker finch, new caledonian crows...)

Okay I'll press the button again.

Translator said...

Jerri - great points! I have also seen African grays in action. Very smart birds! Here's a video for those who are interested.

Libertan - welcome! It's been a long while! I know you love birds, and I'm glad you could comment on this one. Indeed, out here in Colorado we are privileged to experience the wonder of Clark's Nutcracker. Brilliant bird!

Adria Balgassi said...

Amazing.