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Temporal range: Early Miocene to present
A lyrebird is either of two species of ground-dwelling Australian birds, that form the genus, Menura, and the family Menuridae. They are most notable for their superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. As well as their extraordinary mimicking ability, lyrebirds are notable because of the striking beauty of the male bird's huge tail when it is fanned out in display; and also because of their courtship display. Lyrebirds have unique plumes of neutral-coloured tail feathers and are among Australia's best-known native birds.
Lyrebirds are ancient Australian animals: the Australian Museum has fossils of lyrebirds dating back to about 15 million years ago.
Lyrebirds are not endangered in the short to medium term. Albert's lyrebird has a very restricted habitat and had been listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, but due to careful management of the species and its habitat the species was re-assessed tonear threatened in 2009. The superb lyrebird, once seriously threatened by habitat destruction, is now classified as common. Even so, lyrebirds are vulnerable to cats and foxes, and it remains to be seen if habitat protection schemes will stand up to increased human population pressure.