The Dance of the Manakin
April 29, 2005 4:38 PM Subscribe
Manakins (Manacus sp.) are small, colorful sparrow-sized birds found all over Central and South America. Manakin males engage in elaborate courtship dances, including rhythmic sounds they produce with their wings. No one really knew how the birds made this sounds, until Kimberly Bostwick, Curator of Birds and Mammals at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, went into the jungles of Ecuador to film the birds at 1000 frames per second. As it turns out, different species of manakin use entirely different motion to produce the sounds. The Journal of Experimental Biology has published the results, complete with videos. Mark Barres, who studies avian genetic population structures at the Univ. of Wisconsin, has also filmed the mating dance of the Manakins [.mov].
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