Image: Wikimedia commons
Some birds are known for their beautiful songs. However, a lyrebird at the Taronga Zoo in Australia has innovated its repertoire by perfectly mimicking the cry of a human baby.
The species, known as Menura novaehollandiae, mimics the sounds of its environment with exquisite skill and precision. But instead of music, this bird, called Echo, aged seven, imitates the cries of children.
“I can only assume he took it from our guests. Obviously, he’s been working on his performance during the lockdown,” Taronga unit bird supervisor Leanne Golebiowski told the newspaper The Guardian. “There are two other sounds he makes right now: one is the sound of a drill, which is eerily accurate, and the second is our fire alarm. It even says the ad ‘evacuate now’ very clearly.”
It’s also not entirely clear why these birds imitate the sounds they hear. But we know they sing all year round. Males sing more in the winter breeding season, suggesting that their imitations have to do with courtship, but females more often imitate predators’ singing, suggesting that this may also be a defense mechanism.
See below the impressive Echo imitation:
Bet you weren’t expecting this wake-up call! You’re not hearing things, our resident lyrebird Echo has the AMAZING ability to replicate a variety of calls – including a baby’s cry!
— Taronga Zoo (@tarongazoo) August 30, 2021