Tags: laser bird | lyrebird | song | sound

Laser Bird's Mating Call Sounds More Like 'Star Wars' Robot Than Animal

By    |   Friday, 14 Nov 2014 11:13 AM

The "laser bird" is the Internet's newest obsession this week after a video of its call went viral, reminding listeners more of a "Star Wars" robot than an animal.

Officially known as an Australian lyrebird, the laser bird's call is actually a call to mate, researcher Anastasia Dalziell of James Cook University told Discovery News.

Many online have likened the lyrebird's call to the sound of R2D2 from "Star Wars," while other think it sounds more like Michael Winslow from the 1980s "Police Academy" movies.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Company, the laser bird song is very important in how females select the males they decide to mate with. Dalziell said the male sounds can vary greatly as they attempt to impress the females.

"Studying lyrebirds is almost like the Holy Grail of songbirds, because they have such a complex, intricate vocal display," she said. "It's overwhelming but really fun."

While most birds need one song, lyrebirds are just getting started with one, Dalziell told ABC.

"Males sing during the time when the females are fertile, so singing is related to gaining a mate," she said.

But it also has a lot to do with the fact that male and female lyrebirds have very different reproductive roles. The females do all the parental care — she builds the nest, cares for the chick, and defends her own territory.

"That means she doesn't need the male to be a good father — all she needs is for him to be beautiful and spectacular. The song is very flamboyant, very loud, very complex, and over the top, and so the female is probably choosing between males on the basis of how beautiful they are and how well they sing and dance. When it comes down to it, he can put all his effort into his performance, rather than being a dad," Dalziell continued.





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The "laser bird" is the Internet's newest obsession this week after a video of its call went viral, reminding listeners more of a "Star Wars" robot than an animal.
laser bird, lyrebird, song, sound
315
2014-13-14
Friday, 14 Nov 2014 11:13 AM
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