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].
posted by monju_bosatsu (8 comments total)
Lovely post. Science is so cool. Thanks!
posted by senor biggles at 5:38 PM on April 29, 2005

Also, listen to the long-tailed manakin's calls, from Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica, and a story from the CBC's Quirks & Quarks about the manakin mating rituals.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:02 PM on April 29, 2005

thanks in advance
posted by derangedlarid at 9:01 PM on April 29, 2005

I just saw Ms. Bostwick on an episode of Nature. It's part of the Deep Jungle series... link here. There's a writeup on her segment here, which includes more video. What a coincidence! In the show, she demonstrated the dance herself. It was great.
posted by halonine at 9:41 PM on April 29, 2005

this is a fantastic post, and flagged as such. thanks.
posted by moonbird at 10:59 PM on April 29, 2005

Thanks for the post, all the guys in the lab (animal behav lab) were thrilled to bits.
posted by dhruva at 6:35 AM on April 30, 2005

Very cool. I love this sort of thing, thank you. Great post.
posted by biscotti at 7:32 AM on April 30, 2005

Nature is so cool. Fabulous post - thank you monju_bosatsu!
posted by madamjujujive at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2005

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