Red-capped manakin moonwalk

February 20, 2009 • 1:27 pm

To continue the series of bizarre bird dances demonstrating the ways that sexual selection can mold behavior, I present a short film of the red-capped mankin “moonwalk”, taken in Costa Rica.  The species is Pipra mentalis, whose males shuffle down branches while courting. Stiles & Skutch (1989) in A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, describe this behaviour of the male as “backwards slides with legs stretched up and yellow thighs exposed.” There are other unique aspects to the courtship behavior as well, including swooping and wing-slapping.