This Bird Is An Ecosystem Engineer

The lyrebird is a bird of many talents. This bird can mimic songs of other birds, which, I believe, is already amazing. It can also mimic artificial sounds, such as a camera click, which is more amazing, in my opinion. But compared to these talents, this ability of the lyrebird might just be the most amazing and most wonderful: the ability to shape ecosystems. This bird “moves more soil globally than any other land animal.”

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Lead researcher Alex Maisley, from Australia’s La Trobe University, tracked wild superb lyrebirds for two years across three locations – Sherbrooke Forest, Yarra Ranges National Park and Britannia Creek catchment – in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

“In just one year, we calculated that each lyrebird in Sherbrooke Forest moved a load equivalent to that carried by 11 standard dump trucks,” he says.

“While seeking invertebrate prey, they use their sharp claws to expose bare earth, and mix and bury litter.”

As they move soil to search for food, the lyrebirds change litter decomposition and the structure of the soil on the forest floor, creating microhabitats for invertebrates as well as encouraging seed germination.

Amazing indeed.

Learn more about the lyrebird over at Cosmos Magazine.

(Image Credit: BBC Studios/ YouTube)

Source: neatorama

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