This is so weird I had to share this before it was lost under the radar and AR is the most worthy site for it.
The Lyre bird, a peacock-lite big tail showoff, whose plumage looks quite like the musical instrument, also has the distinction of being a incredible mimic. Tales abound Down Under about these birds mimicking other birds, motor bikes and clarinets playing classical music in remote bushland.
However the most recent research shows it has expanded the uses for its peculiar vocal talents enough to qualify rebranding as the Liar bird.
The mating ritual involves song and dance by the male to entice his girl into his boudoir and in most cases the female withdraws with out any involvement.
Researchers have recently found evidence that some males now employ their vocal chords to mimic the cries of what is called a ‘mobbing flock’ which is a flock of various bird species, all calling in unison as a universal warning about nearby predators, dingoes, snakes etc. I have personally heard this warning call provided by a collective of kookaburras, magpies, noisy minahs, welcome swallows etc who as a mixed flock were stalking and noisily harassing an enormous diamond python who was trying to avoid the attention.
And now the male Lyrebird imitates this cacophony of distinct individual bird calls to encourage the female to hang around and stay safe with the male who of course steps up the mating ritual. Lyrebirds learn calls from other lyrebirds and from their parents. If this sexual ploy works, the ‘mobbing flock’ call should become a regular part of the Lyrebird repertoire in generations to come.
Nature is amazing, evolution works on many levels and the Liarbird is really bizarre.