Family Lyrebirds (Menuridae)

Least Concern

Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)


French: Ménure superbe German: Graurücken-Leierschwanz Spanish: Avelira soberbia

Menura novaehollandiae


, 1801,

#R, upper Nepean River, New South Wales, Australia


In past, sometimes referred to as M. superba#R#R#R. Race victoriae previously included in nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. edwardi Chisholm, 1921 – extreme SE Queensland (Stanthorpe–Killarney region) and NE New South Wales (S, on and E of Great Dividing Range, to Hunter R).
  • M. n. novaehollandiae Latham, 1801 – SE New South Wales from Hunter R S (on and E of Great Dividing Range) to Victoria border (E of Monaro Tablelands).
  • M. n. victoriae Gould, 1865 – Australian Capital Territory (Brindabella Range) and extreme SE New South Wales W of Monaro Tablelands S to E Victoria (S to Dandenong–Strathbogie Ranges and to NE coast).
  • Introduced (victoriae) to Tasmania.

    Descriptive notes

    Male c. 103 cm, 1100 g; female 76–80 cm, 890 g. Large, with long legs, big strongly clawed feet, and long, train-like tail. Male nominate race has dark grey to brownish... read more


    Vocabulary is very varied, ranging from mechanical-sounding clicks and cackles to ... read more


    Mainly moist forest, particularly cool temperate and subtropical rainforest and wet sclerophyll... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats mainly adult and immature invertebrates obtained from soil and under bark; occasionally takes small vertebrates and seeds. Common prey... read more


    Laying in Jun–Aug. Male solitary, promiscuous, exhibits arena behaviour, performs courtship with much vocal mimicry on earth mound,... read more


    Sedentary; adults relax territorial boundaries a little in non-breeding season. Young immatures not... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Formerly hunted, now fully protected. Many mainland populations probably declined in 20th century. Still common in suitable habitat; densities 0... read more

    Recommended citation

    Lill, A. & Boesman, P. (2018). Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 November 2018).