Tiskita Jungle Lodge in Southwestern Costa Rica is home to three species of Manakin, and I was able to see all of them within about 15 minutes of our arrival. The birds are quite small, and extremely fast, but their bright colors make them worth the challenge to photograph, even if many of my shots were sub-par:
Manakins form leks, groups of males that assemble to perform competitive displays (think groups of single guys at nightclubs). Occasionally I would hear the strange buzzing sound of these birds pounding their wings together at very high speed to call females to the show.
The red-capped Manakin is famous for its amazing and amusing 'moonwalk' display in this PBS clip:
More on Manakins and researching their dances in the video here.
So what is this grand dance off all about? The bird with the flashiest steps gets to go home with this lovely lady:
|Red-capped Manakin, female|
Mate selection is a strong driver of animal behavior!