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Golden-headed manakin

Pipra erythrocephala

Description: Golden-headed manakins are typically plump birds with short tails and bills. Adult males have white eyes; a yellowish to grayish-white bill; legs are pale or flesh in color. Males are jet black with a glistening golden crown and nape. Females are drab olive above; below is paler olive- gray becoming creamy white on the belly. Females and juveniles have gray to dark brown eyes.

Size: Golden-headed manakins average 3.7 inches (9.4 cm) in length and 0.44 ounce (12.5 gr) in weight.

Behavior: Males gather in permanent leks, usually containing 6-15 birds. Each bird occupies a horizontal perch where displays are used to attract females. Most common displays include: male flies out 65.6-131.2 feet (20-40 m) very fast, returning to perch after making an S-shaped pattern while making various sounds; “buzzing” sounds accompanied by rapid backward slide along the perch.

Diet: Similar to other manakins, Golden-headeds are mostly frugivorous, gathering food from fruiting trees in the understory to canopy. Berries are usually plucked during a brief hover. They will also prey on insects and spiders.

Communication: Male Golden-headed manakins are quite noisy when displaying. Advertising is a simple “pu” which becomes more exaggerated and extended when excited. Their vocalizations during these elaborate displays range from buzzing and humming sounds to annoying loud, sharp snaps.

Reproduction: Thinly woven cup-shaped nests are built by the females. Nests are attached to horizontal fork at heights of 3.3-32.8 feet (1-10 m). Two mottled eggs are laid (pale greenish-yellow in color with brown spots and streaks). The female incubates the eggs for 16-17 days; she feeds them without help from the male; fledge 14-20 days after hatching.

Habitat/range: Golden-headed manakins live in the upper levels of humid forests and open second-growth woodlands. They can also be found in fruiting trees and shrubs near forest borders. They range from Panama, south to northern South America (includes Trinidad).

Status: Listed as Least Concern by IUCN.