Maenura superba, Shau


Georg August Goldfuss (1782 - 1848)

The largest printed image of a Lyre Bird. The Lyre Bird was first sighted November 1797 by a an ex-convict who lived with the Aborigines after his term had expired. It was first caught on 26th January 1798 and was … Read Full Description


S/N: GOLD-BI-AA-425–226459
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Full Title:

Maenura superba, Shau




Georg August Goldfuss (1782 - 1848)


Tears to sheet edges, otherwise in good condition.


Lithograph with original hand colouring.

Image Size: 

x 580mm

Frame Size: 

x 875mm
Maenura superba, Shau - Antique Print from 1824

Genuine antique



The largest printed image of a Lyre Bird.

The Lyre Bird was first sighted November 1797 by a an ex-convict who lived with the Aborigines after his term had expired. It was first caught on 26th January 1798 and was described by Thomas Davies 4th November 1800 to the Linnean Society of London. Modern common name Lyrebird or Superb Lyrebird Modern binomial name Menura superba Distribution VIC, NSW & QLD First described Latham 1801 From Barrington, The History of New South Wales…

1797 First sighting. An ex-convict who lived with Aboriginals after his term expired in 1792, said that there was in the bush near Sydney, “a bird of the pheasant species’. Near Sydney, John Wilson (Barrington 1802)

1798 First recorded sighting We saw nothing strange except a few rock kangaroos with long black brush tails, and two pheasants which we could not get a shot at. Nepean, John Price (Historical Records NSW, 3 Appendix C.)

1798 First capture Here I shot a bird about the size of a Pheasant, but the tail of it very much resembels a Peacock, with large long feathers which are white, orange, and lead colour, and black at the ends; its body betwixt a brown and green, brown under his neck and black upon his head. Black legs and very lond claws. Near Bargo, John Price (Historical Records NSW, 3 Appendix C.)

1798 Mimicry of the Lyrebird They sing for two hours in the morning, beginning from the time when they quit the valley, until they attain the summit of the hill; where they scrape together a small hillock, on which they stand, with their tail spread over them, imitating successively the note of every bird known in the country. South-west of Sydney David Collins (An account of the English Colony…)

1800 Scientific description The total length of this singular bird from the point of the bill to the end of the broad tail feathers is 43 inches; 25 of which are in the tail alone. The bill rather exceeds an inch i nlength, is strong, formed much like that of a peacock… Blackheath, Thomas Davies. (Transactions of the Linnean Society of London)

Modern binomial name Menura novaehollandiae

First described Thomas Davies 1800

Distribution VIC, NSW, QLD and introduced to Tasmania.

References Readers Digest Book of Birds 1986 p 360-361

From Naturalist Atlas by Georg August Goldfuss. The work was released in parts comprising 20 per year, from 1824-1842 in Dusseldorf. The work was never released as an officially bound copy.

Exceptionally Rare


Georg August Goldfuss (1782-1848)

Goldfuss was born at Thurnau near Bayreuth and educated at Erlangen where he graduated in 1804 and became professor of zoology in 1818. He was subsequently appointed professor of zoology and mineralogy at the University of Bonn. Aided by Count Georg zu Münster, he issued the important Petrefacta Germaniae (1826–44), a work which was intended to illustrate the invertebrate fossils of Germany, but it was left incomplete after the sponges, corals, crinoids, echinoderms and part of the mollusca had been figured. His greatest work was Naturhistorischer Atlas.

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