The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas.
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to see geographic restrictions).
The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Menura alberti
Profile last updated:
07 Sep 2012
Albert’s Lyrebird is a large, long-tailed, mostly ground-dwelling bird with rich chestnut brown plumage, which is slightly paler and greyer below. The male has a long and beautiful tail combining ribbon-like plumes, filamentary feathers, and broad 'lyrates'. The female has a shorter and more simply structured tail which appears more pointed.
Albert’s Lyrebird can be distinguished from the more common and widespread Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae by its richer brown plumage and, in males, less elaborate lyrate feathers of the tail.
Albert's Lyrebirds are much more often heard than seen; they are shy and wary and difficult to approach. They typically occur singly or in pairs. Their loud, penetrating call is often interspersed with mimicry of other species. In display, the male spreads its tail forward over its head and body and shivers it, while calling loudly.
Albert's Lyrebird is restricted to a small area of far south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern NSW. In NSW, it is mainly found in the McPherson and Tweed Ranges, but occurs west to the Acacia Plateau in the Border Ranges and south to the Koonyum and Nightcap Ranges, and with an isolated population at the species' eastern and southern limit in the Blackwall Range, between Alstonville and Bagotville.
Habitat and ecology
- Mainly occur in the wettest rainforests or wet sclerophyll forests with a wet understorey, often of rainforest plants. Higher densities of Albert's Lyrebirds occur in association with a canopy of eucalypts compared with rainforest lacking eucalypts (for equivalent climate), and in wet sclerophyll forest with greater weights of litter and logs and slower rates of litter decomposition.
- In optimum habitat, forage up to major ridges whereas in mid-quality habitat tend to forage only on lower slopes and in gullies, and do not forage in dry sclerophyll forest.
- Feed on the ground, usually where there is a deep, moist layer of leaf-litter, and fallen logs. In NSW, usually forage in rather open areas without a dense layer but with a well-developed taller strata.
- Eat invertebrates that live in soil and leaf-litter, particularly insects and their larvae, but, fairly surprisingly, they have not yet been observed to eat earthworms.
- Albert's Lyrebirds are solitary birds, and at least the males are territorial and it is likely that the females are too. Occasionally two or three birds may be seen close together.
- Breed over winter, with clutches found between late May and mid-August. The nest is built on a rocky ledge, in fissures in rocks, between rocks, or occasionally in caves on steep rock faces or cliffs.
- Females lay a single egg, and do all the parental care, with the male taking no role.
Regional distribution and habitat
Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.
- Clearing of rainforest and wet eucalypt forest habitat, and subsequent, fragmentation and isolation of remnant patches, for forestry and agriculture is thought to be the main reason for the decline of the species and continued clearing through forestry activities or for agricultural and residential development remains a threat to the species.
- Intensive management of forests, especially loss of optimal wet sclerophyll forest habitat to plantations of eucalypts or Hoop Pines (Araucaria cunninghamii), but also including damage to the canopy, understorey and ground layers of rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest habitats through forestry activity. Plantations contain much lower densities (and sometimes zero) of Albert's Lyrebirds than in habitat recovering from selective logging, or optimal habitat.
- Invasion of logged or otherwise damaged habitat by weeds, especially Lantana (Lantana camara), which reduces suitability of the habitat.
- Damage to habitat by grazing stock.
- Encroachment of urban or rural development close to habitat of Albert's Lyrebirds, as densities of Lyrebirds are lower close to such developments than would be expected.
- The isolated population in the Blackwall Range is under threat because it is so small, with possibly as few as 10 or fewer birds, and isolated from other populations.
- Fire may be a threat in exceptionally dry years, particularly isolated outlying populations.
- Predation by Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and feral or, close to settlements, domestic Dogs and Cats may pose some threat, though this is thought to be of minor significance.
- Anthropogenic climate change, and potential changes to habitat and further restrictions of range linked to such change.
A targeted strategy for managing this species has been developed under the Saving Our Species program; click here
for details. For more information on the Saving Our Species program click here
Activities to assist this species
- Fence remnants of wet forest habitat, and perimeter of large blocks, to exclude grazing stock.
- Rehabilitate and reconnect patches of known and potential habitat using wide corridors linking gullies and ridges.
- Protect areas of known and potential habitat, and connecting habitat, from frequent fire, particularly in dry years.
- Protect all known and potential habitat from further clearing, disturbance and isolation, especially from forestry or agricultural operations or encroachment of urban or rural development close to potential or known habitat.
- Prevent conversion of preferred wet sclerphyll forests and rainforests, especially optimal habitat, to eucalypt or Hoop Pine plantations.
- Control Red Foxes and feral and domestic Dogs and Cats.
- Assess the potential effects of anthropogenic climate change on the species and identify and conduct research on amelioration measures.
- Report any records from west of the Border Ranges or south of Ballina to the DECCW.
- Curtis, H.S. (1998) Lyrebirds: veiled in secrecy. Nature Australia 26(1): 32-41.
- Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Steele, W.K. (eds) (2001) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 5: Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats. (Oxford University Press, Melbourne)
- Holmes, G. (1987) Avifauna of the Big Scrub Region. (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Sydney)
- NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002) Threatened Species of the Upper North Coast of NSW: Fauna. (NSW NPWS, Coffs Harbour)
- Robinson, F.N. and Curtis, H.S. (1996) The vocal displays of the lyrebirds (Menuridae). Emu 96: 258-275.
- Schodde, R. (1996) Murwillumbah Management Area Fauna Survey 1996. CSIRO Division of Wildlife & Ecology: Canberra.
- Smith, L.H. (1988) The Life of the Lyrebird. Heinemann: Melbourne.
Known or predicted
Geographic restrictions region