Healesville Sanctuary

Lyrebird

Visitors to Australia are enthralled by these creatures and their marvellous mimicry.

Lyrebirds are not classified as a threatened species.  Although the species is not considered to be vulnerable, they suffer during natural disasters, as humans and other animals do. Lyrebirds are at risk of attack from foxes, feral animals and domestic cats and dogs, so please keep these animals well controlled if you live near a Lyrebird habitat. A cat curfew is in place around Sherbrooke Forest, which is one of the Lyrebird’s remaining habitats in Victoria.

Meeting the Lyrebirds at Healesville Sanctuary is an important way to connect with the animals of Australia, and to learn about the Sanctuary’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Sanctuary’s conservation programs and its care of native wildlife, as well as fight species extinction. 

Lyrebirds are famed for their mimicry of other birds and sounds such as chainsaws, camera whirrs and clicks, and car sounds – sounds that they hear within and near their bush habitat and reproduce.

Also known as the ‘Superb Lyrebird’, the species native to south-eastern Australia (including southern Tasmania) is renowned for the male’s tale, which is lyre-shaped when the male is displaying to a female: he fans out his long tail feathers and arches them over his head. The mating display also includes dancing and singing. 

The birds are up to 100cm long.

Their habitat is moist forest. Lyrebirds use their claws to scratch for insects, worms, grubs, snails and spiders.

The females build the nests for the eggs and incubate the eggs and care for the young.

In our lyrebird forest we have a pair of lyrebirds – male Nova and female Reefton. These two have successfully raised four young ones in the past 9 years – they are very proud parents!

Did you know?
  • In the late 19th century Lyrebirds were captured and killed for their tail feathers, which were used to ornament women’s hats
  • Lyrebirds forage on the forest floor during the day but roost in trees overnight