Sunday, December 7, 2014

Albert's Lyrebird by Paige Martin

Albert's Lyrebird

Species Common, Scientific Name, and Classification
The Menura alberti is a small ground dwelling bird that is rare and only lives in Australia. It is known by three common names Albert's Lyrebird, Prince Albert, and the Northern Lyrebird. The taxonomic classification of this bird is as follows Menuridae: Passeriformes: Aves: Chordata: Animalia. 

Range and Habitat
This bird is not threatened but is listed as rare and vulnerable by the Australian Government Department of the Environment. It has one of the smallest distribution ranges of any bird in Australia. It resides only in a small section around the border of far south-east Queensland and far north-east NSW. It does not ever leave this area because it does not migrate to breed.  Within these ranges it is not evenly distributed. For example, Small groups of birds will live in one area of the overall range and other groups will isolate themselves in random other parts of the range. This random distribution means that there is not expected to be much gene flow between the small populations. Because of this and the small range that they live in a threating environmental event could be enough to completely wipe out entire populations or the species. The population of this bird has been decreasing since European settlement. Most of its habitat was cleared in the 19th century, but there has been continued development of its habitat and the bird is being forced to move to higher altitude forests. Therefore, most of its habitat today is only in nature reserves. As long as these areas are maintained the Menura ablerti’s populations numbers are not expected to drop dramatically. (
These birds like to live in a very wet environment. As a result, They live in the wettest rainforests wet sclerophyll forests with a wet understory. They prefer these rainforests to have a eucalypts canopy and in the sclerophyll forests they like large amounts of leaf litter. (

Physical Description and Image
The females are approximately 75 cm in long  and males 90 cm long. They are chestnut-brown in color and have a brownish-red on the bottom of their tail, hindquarters, and throat. A tail display is used to attract females. The male flips and spreads its tail over its body and head. Not only does the male use the positioning of the tail to win over females the colorations and types of feathers on the tail also play a role in this. The male has two outer feathers that are black and broad; they have bushy filamentaries which are black and silvery, and two long slim ribbons. All this aids in attracting the females. For females the tail is not important for mating therefore its not several colors and is not as long as the males.(


The Albert's Lyrebird is a shy bird. They are not commonly seen by people but they are often heard by the males. This is due to the males mating call and their mimicking of other birds call. The territories usually contain 5 to 15 birds but it is typical to only fine one or two together at a time. Because they like to be alone for the most part they don’t move location much through the year. They build domed nests either 2 to 5 meters up in a tree or up on rock ridges. The egg has an incubation period of 42 days.

Conservation Status
The Species is listed as near threatened. It is not a top priority on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection list. The bird is not a big priority because the species has been stable. There are actions being taken to further protect the species. Even though the numbers are stable the general population is so small that one natural disaster could be detrimental to the species and it could possibly not recover.
The conservations actions that are currently in effect are a study of the habitat distribution and population density, the Whian Whian State Forest and the Eucalyptus plantations are now protected, state forests are being turned into national parks, and finding actions to enhance the quality and level of the habitat.
Albert's Lyrebird live in wet forests above 300m with thick understories. They like poorer soil qualities because  they look for food in the deep leaf litter on the forest floor.
They eat invertebrates that live in this soil and deep leaf-litter. They particularly feed on insects and their larvae.

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