Red-capped Manakin

Information about the Bird Red-capped Manakin

The bird is probably best known for the male's unusual courting method whereby it shuffles rapidly backwards across a branch, akin to a speedy moonwalk.The red-capped manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) is a species of bird in the Pipridae family. It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Panama. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

The placement is disputed among taxonomists, with some including it in Pipra and others placing it in its own genus, Ceratopipra.) It is closely related to, and in eastern Panama sometimes hybridizes with, the golden-headed manakin.
There are three recognized subspecies:
The red-capped manakin is a small passerine, measuring 4in (10cm) in length[nb 1] and weighing 16g (0.56oz). The male is velvety black apart from a bright red head and nape, bright yellow thighs, and a pale yellow chin and wing linings. The female is olive green above, with paler, more yellow-green underparts. Both sexes have dull brown legs. The male's irides are white, while those of the female and young are brown.
While the adult male is distinctive, the female and youngsters can be confused with several similar species. The female golden-collared manakin is larger, and has orange (rather than brown) legs, while the female blue-crowned manakin is a brighter green (rather than olive).
Found primarily in humid forest and second growth woodland, the red-capped manakin typically occurs below 400-500m (1,300-1,600ft) above sea level, though it sometimes ranges as high as 900m (3,000ft). Most are resident, but some individuals are known to migrate to take advantage of changing food resources: the number of red-capped manakins caught in mist nets at La Selva Biological Reserve, in eastern Costa Rica, tripled in January and February, when a favored fruit ripened, for example, while the number caught at a nearby higher elevation site (where the fruits were not found) dropped to zero.
The red-capped manakin is a frugivore, feeding almost exclusively on fruits. These pass very quickly through the bird's digestive system, typically taking less than 18 minutes to process. Seeds from a variety of plants are consumed; one study in Costa Rica found evidence of 70 species, including those from the genera Clidemia, Hampea, Henriettea, Leandra, Miconia, Ossaea, Pinzona and Psychotria, in the fecal droppings of red-capped manakins.

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