ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Club-winged Manakin - Tropical Rainforest Casanova

Updated on July 12, 2011
Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus)
Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus) | Source

The tropical rainforests of South America entice many naturalists to observe the abundant treasures that are hidden within its canopies. There is, however, one avian species that mesmerizes the adventurer with melodious sounds and a curious dance while luring a compatible mate to its side. The Club-winged Manakin is a marvel of nature, a product of adaptation that baffled scientists for many years.

Range

The Club-winged Manakin is a small bird of the order Passeriformes, sometimes referred to as perching birds. It is strictly Neotropical, endemic to the jungles of South and Central America. It can be located within the deep tropical rainforests from southwestern Colombia to northwest Ecuador. Ranging in altitudes from 600 – 1600 m (2,000 – 5000 ft), it is at home among the lower growth of the Andean foothills and subtropical forest.

Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus)
Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus) | Source

Appearance

Although the Club-winged Manakin is not as brightly colored as many other avian species in the rainforest, it is nonetheless an attractive bird. The male is primarily a rufous-chestnut hue with a scarlet crown. The overall tone is paler on the head and much darker on the underbelly. Tail and wings are black with the inner flight feathers exhibiting white. These feathers display a definite thickening and an unusual, twisted appearance. The bend of the wing has a yellow lining and the undersides are white.

The female, in contrast, is olive above and presents some cinnamon-rufous on the face. The inner webs of the secondary wing feathers are white and the under wings are similar to the male. The throat is whitish, mid-belly a pale yellow and the breast and flanks an olive tone. There are no other similar species to cause confusion in identification. 

Rainforest Mating Call

Although this diminutive bird could remain allusive amongst the dense foliage of the tropical rainforest, its mechanical chirps and screeches reveal it presence. It is this mating call that has fascinated and mystified naturalists since it was first brought to their attention in the 19th century. Many studies have been conceived to establish the origin of this sound but it was not realized until this past decade.

Dr. Richard Prum of Yale University first began his investigation of these phenomena in 1987 when he became fascinated with the Club-winged Manakin during a trip to northwest Ecuador. Dr. Kimberly Bostwick of Cornell University, a former student of Dr. Prum, joined his research in 1995. She took high-speed photographs of this peculiar bird and discovered a remarkable event. 

The Club-winged Manakin has one feather on each wing that exhibits seven ridges. An adjacent feather is exceptionally stiff and is rubbed rapidly across the ribbed feather similar to raking a spoon across a washboard. The Manakin’s wing muscles are overly developed allowing it to move these feathers at a remarkable velocity of more than100 times per second. This in turn produces a frequency of 1,500 hz (cycles per second), delivering this high pitched, mechanical sound.

This unusual noise produced by rubbing certain body parts together, referred to as stridulation, is generally associated with insects such as crickets and cicadas. The Manakin is the only family of birds known at this time to manifest this ability. Other Manakins, such as the White-bearded Manakin, produce a loud crack similar to a firecracker or two rocks being beat together. The sound that these birds produce is part of their mating ritual used to attract a suitable partner.

Habits and Habitats

The Club-winged Manakin is a fairly shy bird, remaining inconspicuous among the foliage of the dense rainforest understory. They normally perform in pairs, perching 5 – 10 m apart (15 – 30 ft), calling to each other at frequent intervals. This may continue over long periods of time but will change dramatically if a female appears. The males will compete for attention and position in relation to the prospective mate causing a flurry of noise and activity.

Manakins feed mainly on small fruits that are acquired while hovering near branches similar to a hummingbird. Their nests are tiny, shallow cups and only the female will attend to the young.

Locating the Club-winged Manakin in Ecuador

The Club-winged Manakin has a very restricted range but can be found at various reserves within Ecuador. Visitors to Milpe Bird Sanctuary can observe a lek, a gathering of males for mating purposes. Other areas for viewing are Buenaventura Reserve, Mindo Valley, Rio Palenque Reserve, Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary and Tinalandia.

Summary

The Club-winged Manakin is a peculiar bird with a sound that can mesmerize the adventurous traveler as well as a prospective mate. Its curious acrobatics and fascinating rituals can provide hours of entertainment for everyone. This tiny creature is a must-see attraction for all bird and nature enthusiasts. 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Thanks for the comment TajSingh. Apparently there is one mammal that does it also, but mostly insects and reptiles. A very interesting bird.

    • ColibriPhoto profile imageAUTHOR

      ColibriPhoto 

      7 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

      Thanks Scosgrove. It is a fascinating bird to watch... and hear.

    • profile image

      TajSingh 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi ColibriPhoto. Very interesting hub. I never knew until now that there is a species of bird that can do stridulation. I thought that insects are the only ones who can do it.

    • Scosgrove profile image

      Scosgrove 

      7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Very informative. Great hub on the Club-winged Manakin!

      That whole wing singing thing was a trip. So cool.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)