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Red-capped Manakin

Pipra mentalis

Description: Red-capped manakins have chubby bodies, short bills that are wide at the base, short tails, large eyes, and their legs are dull reddish to lead-gray color. Males have white irises and creamy-yellow feathers that cover the tarsi. The crown, sides of head and nape are red, the chin, thighs axillaries and underwing coverts are yellow, and the throat, upperparts and underparts are black. A female has a dull brown iris, dull olive green plumage, and brown-gray underparts. The females are palest on their underparts, especially their bellies.

Size: They are four inches (10 cm) long and weigh 0.44-0.65 ounce (12.5-18.5 gr).

Behavior: Solitary except when small groups of males are at the lek. They are sometimes referred to as “moonwalker” birds due to their ability to move rapidly backwards across a branch. Their displays also involves a clacking sound by raising and lowering the wings.

Diet: Their diet is mainly fruit. They have very small stomachs that do not keep the eaten fruit in the proventriculus (glandular part of the stomach that may store and/or commence digestion of food), leading to quick gut discharge of the fruit. This gives the bird the ability to consume large amounts of fruit in order to acquire their daily vitamin intake.

Communication: Red-capped manakins are usually silent birds unless a male is performing a
mating call. The call is a loud vocalization and the call most heard is a short explosive “psit psit psit p’tsweeee psip, final note sharply emphatic.” The males also have a way of communicating by a noise that is made by flapping their wings.

Reproduction: This species of manakin are polygynous (males mate with several females) and the female lays two dark, grayish-buff eggs in a small cup-like nest handing from a tree.

Habitat/range: They mainly inhabit humid evergreen and semi deciduous forest from Southeastern Mexico through Central America to Ecuador.

Status: They are listed as Least Concern on IUCN Red List.