Destruction of a conspecific nest by a female Superb Lyrebird: Evidence for reproductive suppression in a bird with female-only parental care Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Reproductive suppression, whereby individuals decrease the reproductive output of conspecific rivals, is well-studied in mammals, but while it is suspected to be widespread in birds, evidence of this phenomenon remains rare in this class. Here we provide compelling evidence of reproductive suppression in the Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandie), with the first audio-visual documentation of the destruction of one female’s nest by another. We propose that nest destruction may be a strategy that females use in protracted territorial negotiations spanning multiple breeding seasons, and discuss how reproductive suppression could explain puzzling nesting behaviours in this species, such as the construction of multiple unfinished nests in each breeding season. More broadly, these results reveal high intra-sexual competition among female lyrebirds, and thus may provide an explanation for their elaborate vocal displays.

publication date

  • 2019