Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oct 2007 Auk: Lance-tailed Manakin Displays

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchAnother interesting paper in this October's Auk is Emily DuVal's characterization of the displays and call types of the Lance-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia lanceolata) of southern Central America. Manakins (Pipridae) are known for the elaborate displays of males on lek. Some species (Club-winged Manakin) even have modified wings to produce structure buzzing and clicking sounds in display.

(Photo by Emily Duval. Source)

The Lance-tailed Manakin exhibits the unusual trait of cooperative male displays on leks. Males cooperate in pairs to display for females, with one of the males being 'alpha' and continuuing the display on to copulation. To help examine the evolution of this mating system, DuVal characterized by components the behavioral and vocalization components of the manakin's display.

Another prominent example of component-level analysis of complex displays has recently been published by Ed Scholes, who has filmed the displays of many species of Birds-of-Paradise. DuVal's analysis complements her work on understanding why the helper males cooperate when they don't sire young. See her recent American Naturalist paper for more information.


Emily H. DuVal. 2007. Adaptive advantages of cooperative courtship for subordinate male lance-tailed manakins. American Naturalist. 169: 423-432. April 2007.

Emily H. DuVal. 2007. Cooperative display and lekking behavior of the Lance-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia lanceolata). The Auk 124(4): 1168-1185. October 2007. (Abstract)


  1. I saw the Long-tailed Manakins doing this in Costa Rica this past summer. It's a very similar dance. Very cool.

  2. Nice. I hope to see my first manakins down there. 19 days...

  3. Wow! I am psyched that I found your very interesting blog. Where I live, I am surrounded by the Lance Tailed Manakins. I was trying to research them on the web when I ran across your blog! Their haunting calls and unique displays have captured me. Thanks for the info on their behavior. I was wondering why I mostly spot two males first and spy the female second. One males calls out, then the 2nd male, a few seconds later then the female answers. They are not startled easily, very curious birds. Sometimes, i feel like they are following me on my hikes. Can't wait to check out the rest of your blog!

  4. That's cool! I've never seen Manakins in this genus. I can't wait to get an opportunity to watch their displays. I know more work has been done on their breeding system, I can try to find the time to post it.

  5. Learning so much from your site. Thanks, I feel like I'm taking a birding class. I LOVE IT! If you are ever near Panama, please come to visit at Liquid Jungle Lab, on Isla de Canales, on the Pacific side of Panama. A beautiful tropical isolated island. check us out when you have time
    We have an ornithologist/biologist here now at the lab and is my walking bird-book. I told him about your site!