Superb Lyrebird

Mimics the sounds of the rainforest, from Kookaburra to chain saw.

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The male superb lyrebird attracts females by probably the most extravagant animal call in the world. The male mimics all the sounds from the forest, includeing the calls of other birds. Ones brought up around manmade sounds impersonate the roar of a chainsaw, the screech of a car alarm and the click of camera shutters. Lyrebirds display this vocal virtuosity not just during the breeding season, implying the calls are not just about finding a mate but also used to defend territory. During the breeding season they use a display mound to sing from for hours, with the calls travelling up to a kilometre through the forest. The BBC video of the Lyrebird is very funny and was voted by viewers as their favourite Attenborough moment.

Location

The map shows the location of Healesville Sanctuary but the Lyrebird can be seen elsewhere in south-eastern Australia.

Bearded Seals

The extraordinary long drawn out glissandos make this a strange animal calls.

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Photo by kerryinlondon CC BY-ND 2.0

The bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) is named after the whiskers on its face, but that’s not the most remarkable thing about this animal. The seal produces incredibly complex vocalisations, with the long drawn out glissandos that trill and spiral down in frequency. As the seal creates this call, they spiral downwards releasing bubbles, before surfacing in the centre of the circle.[1] Vocal athleticism in animals is thought to arise because females judge the fitness of a singing male by the quality of the song. Evolutionary pressure therefore drives the males to sing with ever more outlandish effects. For the bearded seal this means producing spiralling glissandos of extraordinary length. The recording above is from Point Barrow, Alaska using an underwater microphone (hydrophone).

Location

The sounds are only heard in the breeding season that lasts from about late March through mid July.[1] The bearded seal can be found in the Arctic waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Credits and sources