From car horns to jackhammers to chainsaws. The magnificent lyreogon can imitate each of these sounds. One of the species from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney has learned to imitate a baby’s cry.
Magnificent Lyirogon (Menura novaehollandiae) named Echo, who lives in Taronga Zoo in Sydney, is able to imitate the heartbreaking cry of a child. It’s not entirely clear how this seven-year-old male perfected this terrifying scream as the zoo is currently closed due to an ongoing lockdown in Sydney.
The head of Taronga Zoo’s bird unit, Leanne Golebiowski, said Echo started trying to imitate a baby’s cry a year ago.
“I can only assume he learned that from our visitors.” Probably practicing the sound during the lockdown. But it worries me because I thought the zoo was a happy place for families, said Golebiowski. “There are two other sounds he’s making right now that he’s just learned.” One is the sound of an electric drill which is frighteningly accurate and the other is our fire alarm. He even has the message “evacuate” under control – she added.
“We bet you didn’t expect such a wake-up call. Our Echo has an amazing ability to reproduce a variety of sounds – including a baby’s cry,” reads a post shared by the zoo on Twitter.
Dr. Alex Maisey, a biologist at Australia’s La Trobe University, told the British Guardian that wild lyre thongs mimic a wide variety of sounds and that this was part of their courtship.
“They must have an amazing memory to be able to reproduce so many sounds,” he said. – They also have their own special songs that go hand in hand with the dance moves. If you are a strong male who gets a lot of food, you will be able to spend a lot of time practicing dancing and different sounds, he added.
Female lyrets are also excellent followers, but they use their abilities for a different reason. “We think they can mimic many raptors and animals as a way to defend the nest,” Maisey said.
Main photo source: Taronga Zoo Sydney