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Pipridae – Manakins

Araripe Manakin in Brazil: Photo by Daniel López-Velasco

The Pipridae family, known as manakins, includes around 50 species found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. These small, colorful birds are renowned for the males’ elaborate courtship displays, which often involve intricate dances and acrobatic feats to attract females. Manakins primarily inhabit the forest understory and midstory, where they feed on fruit and insects.

Overview of Pipridae

Tiny frugivores of Neotropical forests, manakins are large-headed and short-tailed birds with striking sexual dimorphism: females are uniformly plain olive-green, while males typically feature black or white plumage with vibrant patches of red, yellow, or blue. This dimorphism is tied to their elaborate mating displays, often performed in small leks. Males show off their visual and acoustic displays solo or in cooperative duets, and many species produce additional non-vocal sounds by clapping their wing feathers. Manakin nests are tiny and well-hidden to avoid predators. In some species, incubating females adopt an upright posture with their tail out of the nest, resembling perched birds more than ones sitting on eggs.