Gray-back lyre-tail

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Gray-back lyre-tail
Gray-back lyre-tail (Menura novaehollandiae)

Gray-backed lyre-tail ( Menura novaehollandiae )

Subclass : New-jawed birds (Neognathae)
Order : Passerines (Passeriformes)
Subordination : Songbirds (passeri)
Family : Menuridae
Genre : Lyre tails ( menura )
Type : Gray-back lyre-tail
Scientific name
Menura novaehollandiae
Latham , 1802

The gray-backed lyretail ( Menura novaehollandiae ), also known as the magnificent lyre-tail , is a songbird species native to eastern Australia and introduced into Tasmania .


The gray-backed lyre-tail has a pheasant-like shape and strong legs. The male is up to 100 centimeters long, the female up to 86 centimeters. The plumage is mostly brown. The male has a lyre-shaped train of tail, up to 60 centimeters long, which is black and reddish brown above and shiny silver below. The female's tail is shorter and not lyre-shaped.


The gray-backed lyretail lives in temperate and subtropical rainforests. He sleeps in trees.

Way of life

The bird usually looks for food on the ground, which it digs out with its legs. It eats insects, worms, snails and other soil animals.

The male's courtship consists of chants and the unfolding of the tail train over the body. A male mates with several females. Each female builds a nest on the ground, on a stump, tree fern or tree from parts of plants. It uses feathers for upholstery. The female lays a single, gray to purple-brown, dark-spotted egg. Without the assistance of the male, the female incubates the egg and raises the chick.

In addition to “own” calls (“blik blik” or “bilik bilik”), the gray-backed lyre-tail imitates the voices of other birds and mammalian calls. Even environmental noises such as the beeps of locomotives, the clicking of cameras or the noises of chainsaws are imitated. As a result, according to the science historian Barbara Wittmann , the magnificent lyre-tail is probably the only animal that has integrated the noises of its own habitat disappearing into its song.


  • Menura novaehollandiae edwardi
  • Menura novaehollandiae novaehollandiae
  • Menura novaehollandiae victoriae


  1. ^ Prachtleierschwanz, in: Division III of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (ed.), A natural history for the 21st century. Hommage à / in honor of / in Honor of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Berlin: MPIWG, 2011, pp. 113–116.
  • Ambrose GH Pratt: "Menura". Magnificent bird ly-tail. Translated from English and edited. by Rainer G. Schmidt. Friedenauer Presse, Berlin 2011

Web links

Commons : Menura novaehollandiae  - collection of images, videos and audio files