The superb lyrebird is superb at mimicking sounds. The species can pick up and repeat a range of sounds found in its forest home, including songs and calls, and even wing beats. A lyrebird can mimic the calls of as many as 25 species of other birds, all with incredible accuracy.

According to Wild Ambiance, "From the cackling laughter of a kookaburra, to the strident ‘whipcrack’ of the Eastern whipbird, lyrebirds are so accurate that even the original is sometimes fooled."

Individuals living in captivity can also pick up and mimic human-made sounds with surprising accuracy, as this video shows.

It's rare for wild lyrebirds to pick up the sounds of humans and incorporate them in their repertoire, but those in captivity that have mastered sounds have served to bring mainstream attention to the species' stand-out talent.

The Conversation notes that in David Attenborough’s "Life of Birds" series, which made the mimicking abilities of the superb lyrebird famous, "two of his three lyrebirds were captives, one from Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary and the other from Adelaide Zoo. This latter individual, Chook, was famed for his hammers, drills, and saws, sounds he reputedly acquired when the zoo’s panda enclosure was built. Hand-raised from a chick, he was also known to do a car alarm, as well as a human voice intoning 'Hello, Chook!' He died in 2011, aged 32."

There are few animal species that can perform such impressive impressions of sounds they hear. Orca whales have been known to mimic the sound of dolphin clicks and one orca even mimicked the sound of a motor boat. The margay can imitate the call of the pied tamarin, which is its prey. Several bird species are known for their mimicry skills such as the mockingbird, and of course parrots, which can mimic human words. But in terms of range and accuracy, the superb lyrebird is among the very best in the animal kingdom.

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.