Information On Songbirds


Songbird Information

planet songbird

Some say that birds have the greatest appeal for the human species
. Their songs have reassured man for millennia, and they have been the symbol for peace and freedom.

Almost 60% of all living species of bird are included in the group of the Songbirds, or passerines. As their name suggests, it is their voices that mark out the songbirds from their relatives in the bird world. Most fruits, seeds, and insects, along with small animal life, are consumed by songbirds. Most birds are insectivorous during all or part of their lives providing an important biological control on destructive forest insects.


A Rufous scrub-bird (above), is one of the rarest birds in the world. Native to Australia, they are a fast and alert bird that lives close to the ground. Most scrub-birds live in mountainous forest edges in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. The Noisy scrub-bird is only found at two Peoples Bay in western Australia. Both species are terrestrial and enjoy insects for eating and a occasional small lizard, frog, or gecko.

Noisy scrub-bird: Size: 6-8.5 inches long; Weight: 1-1.8 ounces. Females smaller than males. Voice: two alarm notes and a three-note call; loud variable song of 10-20 notes; another shorter and variable song that uses modified songs of other birds.

Rufous scrub-bird: Size: 6-7 inches long; females smaller. Voice: loud repeated chirp; two alarm notes; also mimics other birds.


Native to Australia, the lyrebird is pheasant- size with an enormous tail. Male Superb lyrebirds have territories of 2-10 acres in size. They construct mounds in which they build mounds on which they sing and display. Each territory contains up to six mounds. The Superb Lyrebird emits a continuous stream of loud, melodious song and turns slowly. When a female visits the mound, the tail feathers are held forwards but are unfanned and are quivered rapidly.

Lyrebirds are mainly adapted for running and fly weakly, mostly by gliding. They rest high in the forest canopy, and are "shy" and hard to observe. They feed mostly on soil invertebrates which they dig from the soil with strong, long- clawed feet. They catch about 13-17 prey per minute spent foraging, and dig to about 5 inches deep.

The female lyrebird spends about 160 hours building a nest in the fall and early winter. A single egg is laid and incubated. Incubation for this passerine bird is exceptionally long due to the egg only being incubated 45% of daylight hours, and is left exposed for up to 3to 6 hours every morning. The chick is then brooded until it reaches 10 days old. Thereafter it is fed every 23 minutes during the day.

The male Superb lyrebirds live up to 15 years. Although lyrebirds were slaughtered for their tail plumage in the 19th century, they are now fully protected by law. Still, there is a threat of habitat destruction by humans.


The Boat-billed flycatcher (right) is from the flycatchers family which makes up the largest and most diverse family of birds in the New World. The true "flycatchers" actually makeup the minority in the family. Among the larger flycatchers is a large group of species that share a similar plumage pattern of bright underparts and black-and-white striped crowns. The best known of these is the Great kiskadee, widespread from North America to central Argentina.

In most species the young reach independence within a few months of leaving the nest. In some tropical areas the young stay with the parents the first year, the family foraging together.



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