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The Kid Should See This

The male long-tailed manakin’s incredible courtship display

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In the rainforests of Costa Rica, pairs of long-tailed Manakin males (Chiroxiphia linearis) attempt to create impressive displays in front of an observant female manakin. They hop into the air, leapfrogging backward and darting back and forth along the branch. Their almost-electronic chirps repeat with hypnotic rhythms.

The incredible footage was filmed by rainforest wildlife photographer David Weiller. He writes:

“Taking turns, several pairs of males are displaying on a lek in front of a female manakin (green bird).

“Male Lance-tailed Manakins form long-term two-male alliances. When a female approaches, they perform a dance of coordinated leaps and butterfly-like flights on the display perch.”

hopping in front of a female manakin

“The dominant “alpha” male and his subordinate “beta” partner may remain together for up to six years. With very rare exceptions, only alpha males reproduce.

“Why do betas cooperate rather than striking off on their own? Being a beta increases a male’s chance of becoming alpha, but many males die while ‘waiting in the wings’ and never have the chance to be alpha.”

manakins on a branch
This mating dance might look familiar. Previously: Male Blue Manakins wait in line to impress a female.

Plus, watch more impressive mating dances and bird videos on TKSST, including:
• How the Red-capped Manakin evolved
The mating dance of the male Victoria’s Riflebird
• The “dance” of the Clark’s Grebes
• Stomping, fluffing, puffing: The mating displays of lesser prairie-chickens
• The Greater Sage-Grouse’s courtship ritual & The Sagebrush Sea
• The Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, a new species

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