Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blue-backed Manakin

I've been chattering away here about everything other than birds pretty much. 

One of the great many bird species we saw while at Karanambu was the Blue-backed Manakin.  We saw some that afternoon before going to see the waterlilies.  And we saw several again the next day.  There's a grove of trees out on the savanna where these wonderful little birds lek and maybe nest, too. 

Here's Mike Smith's photo of a Blue-backed Manakin  Chiroxiphia pareola.

Note:  Mike was not in Guyana with us.  Some of us met Mike & Dot, (from the U.K.)  at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad.  They went on to Tobago, as did our Martin & Marilynn.  But not me - I went home to Cold Canada after Trinidad.  Tsk.  Well, anyway, Mike got this great photo in Tobago. 

While the Blue-backed Manakins of Guyana and Tobago are pretty much the same tells us
The race endemic to Tobago, C. p. atlantica is larger and has more extensive red on the crown and blue on the back; it may be a separate species.
The thing about manakins, besides being incredibly tiny, handsome little birds, is that the males of all species perform some very unique mating dances.  This is the description of the Blue-backed Manakin's ritual dance - from Wikipedia :
The male Blue-backed Manakin has a fascinating breeding display, unusual in that it is cooperative rather than competitive. Two males perch next to each other on a bare stick and jump up and down alternately, giving a buzzing call. When a female approaches, the perched bird moves backwards under the jumping bird, so the two perform a vertical circling movement. Groups of up to eight birds may perform together, with a different stick for each pair of displaying males. 
The females raise the chicks all by themselves, which is unusual in the bird world......The males are left with the onerous task of practicing mating rituals. And it seems these birds have gone farther than most in their efforts to appear more appealing.
For more info on this bird species, go to 

And, here's a YouTube video of several males performing for an attentive female (I think she looks a little bewildered by it all).


  1. That does it. After my spouses insistent persuasion we made trips to the historical culturual nations of Euorope too numerous to mention. I hereby dedicate myself to persuade Queen B a trip birding to Costa Rica is in order!

  2. Lobby hard, my friend, lobby hard. Costa Rica is a beautiful place. The birding is magnificent. The plants and flowers are absolutely wonderful. I've been there twice and am not adverse to making a third or even fourth trip.