It takes su­perb lyre­birds seven years to grow their tail feath­ers

This ground-dwelling Aus­tralian im­per­son­ator puts on a truly show-stop­ping dis­play when it comes to wooing the ladies

World of Animals - - Shake Your Tail Feathers -

Na­tive to the rain­forests of south­east­ern Aus­tralia, the male su­perb lyre­bird has a del­i­cate tail of feath­ers that cer­tainly makes up for its lack of colour.

Su­perb lyre­birds are shy, pheasant-like birds and spend their lives mostly on the ground. Their long, strong legs are per­fect for dig­ging for worms and in­sects such as bee­tles and cock­roaches on the for­est floor and for es­cap­ing dan­ger. They also have an in­trigu­ing abil­ity to mimic a wide range of sounds, in­clud­ing the calls, songs and wing beats of other species.

Su­perb lyre­birds are named af­ter the male’s lacy, white plumes and outer pair of curved tail feath­ers, which form the shape of a lyre – a harp-like in­stru­ment from an­cient Greece. Their train con­sists of 16 feath­ers, which are up to 70 cen­time­tres (27.6 inches) in length and take up to seven years to grow.

Dur­ing breed­ing sea­son males per­form courtship dis­plays, flip­ping up their lacy tail feath­ers and fan­ning them out over their head while vi­brat­ing them in an at­tempt to draw the gaze of a fe­male.

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