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Birds - The Manakin Does Michael Jackson's Moon Walk
Manakin birds belong to the family of Pipridays, and are about the size of a sparrow, but their many talents are truly unique, as they can do the Michael Jackson’s moon walk. Manakins can be found living in the forests from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.
Spotting them, however, is not always an easy task as they more around very rapidly. They do love attention however, and don’t seem to be afraid of people. Their goal is to attract females. The females and males under a year have dark green plumage, so they blend with the trees. The males are uniquely colored as is often true in nature.
Their many talents include using their wings together behind their backs to scare predators with their unique clap, plus they hum (not unlike the sound of a violin), snap and buzz. Their courtship rituals are spectacular. They are not a monogamous bird, as they enjoy flitting around the forest, bright eyed and showing off. The female raises the babies alone most of the time.
Bird in the Wild
These birds have only been studied by a small number of people and in order to get a video, it required a camera operating at a 1000 frames per second, which is 30 times faster than a camcorder. Kim Bostwick is the researcher that captured their shenanigans on film.
The Manakin knocks its wings together at an amazing 80-107 times per minute, which reached a frequency of an amazing 1,500 cycles per second. No other birds in the wild can match their performance. They live on small fruit and insects, but really don’t have time to hunt. Apparently, they are quite single minded about their purpose in life.
One of the reasons this bird can make all these unusual sounds with their wings is due to the fact that their bones are solid. Most birds have hollow wings. How this bird can move so quickly and fly is still a mystery. Each large feather over the bone is also a bit different, which allows for a variety of sounds.
For instance, their 5th feather rubs against their ridged feather, which is a technique that is similar to using a guitar pick. It is also the strength of his wings that allows him to move back and forth on the branch, which resembles the moon walk. The video on birds is truly entertaining.
Moonwalking Bird HD
The Dancing Bird
The Manakin is not the only bird of paradise that does an amazing mating ritual dance to entice the female. There is an Australian bird called Victoria’s Riflebird, named after British Queen Victoria. Several years ago John Young filmed this Paradise Riflebird in the Bunya Mountains Park in Queensland, Australia. The Riflebird is one of four birds of paradise indigenous to that region. They tend to stay in one region, while the females tend to wander.
Victoria's Riflebird - Bird of Paradise
This bird has a loud call to draw attention to the female. Once he has her attention he begins his lavish display using his velvet black feathers by stretching them straight up on either side of their head, then he sways and bobs putting on his finest show. When the female gets close enough, he puts his wings around her to tap her gently. His head and throat are green and sparkle in the sun, plus his mouth is yellow.
The female is a red-brown color. These birds can also hang upside down with their tail and wing feathers fanned out. This is another bird that is not monogamous. The female raises the young, typically two, in a nest often using python skins. This bird's ostentatious mating dance is extremely entertaining.
Bunya Mountains Park, Queensland, Australia
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On live in Montreux
These are just two examples of bird paradise. There are thousands of species of birds, and each one has their own unique characteristics. Any bird of paradise is beautifully colored. Many birds pair up for life, such as parrots, McCaw’s and so on, but these two magnificent birds seem to be concerned about increasing the bird population of their species, without any of the responsibility of raising baby birds. The females apparently do well raising their babies alone, and this just makes all of nature so interesting to study or simply to enjoy.
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© 2012 Pamela Oglesby