Breeding success and nest predation were analysed in two superb lyrebird populations studied over six years. Egg success was estimated at 11-20%, giving an annual recruitment rate of 0.1-0.2 fledglings per breeding female. Predation accounted for at least 79% of nesting mortality and the risk was greater during the nestling phase. Preferred nest sites were 0.6-1.8 m above ground level on earth banks and in trees but were most susceptible to predation. Circumstantial evidence implicated native birds and introduced mammals as the principal nest predators. The generality and evolutionary implications of these findings are discussed.