Habitat selection by the Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae), an iconic ecosystem engineer in forests of south-eastern Australia

Alex C. Maisey, Dale G. Nimmo, Andrew F. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Landscape heterogeneity, from both natural and anthropogenic causes, fundamentally influence the distribution of species. Conservation management requires an understanding of how species respond to heterogeneity at different spatial scales and whether differences may occur between demographic components of a species population. We examined the spatial pattern of activity of the superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae), an iconic forest species of south-eastern Australia, in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, Victoria. Specifically, we quantified at landscape and local scales, the factors that influence nest site location and foraging activity of lyrebirds. Compared with randomly located sites, nest sites were more likely to occur in wet forest or rainforest close to creek lines; where there were deep litter and complex vegetation in the mid (1.5–2 m) and high (>2 m) strata. Foraging by lyrebirds was more likely to occur in wet forest and rainforest, with increasing distance from creeks; at sites where low vegetative cover (<30 cm) was sparse and the ground layer open. Thus, lyrebirds respond to different cues for different activities (nest sites and foraging), using different resources in the landscape. These results highlight the importance of (i) knowing the range of resources, at both landscape and local scales, required by a species to ensure its persistence and (ii) adopting a landscape approach for conservation planning that incorporates the heterogeneity of the ecosystem, especially that provided by landscape components that may be limited in area but disproportionately valuable for providing habitat resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalAustral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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