Compared to some other manakins, the male Blue-crowned manakin performs a quieter display, bowing its brilliantly colored head forward while giving a musical trill. Despite having an extensive range, from Costa Rica and Panama, all the way south to Bolivia, it has always been rare in captivity
Found in Panama and Colombia, this little bird has proved adaptable to disturbed habitats, flourishing in second-growth woods. The elongated feathers, arranged like a beard beneath the male’s throat, can be bunched together like a pointing finger, parallel with its beak. With those feathers thus positioned, the male performs its courtship display by darting suddenly from branch to branch while making startling snapping sounds with its wings. The only captive hatchings have taken place at the DWA, with twelve hatchings since the first in 2009.
This species is obviously closely related to the Red-capped manakin and shares part of its range in Panama, but is mostly found in Northern South America. The females of these two species are very similar, greenish with pale underparts. At present it is the most widely kept manakin in zoos and has bred in captivity, including the DWA.
The Red-capped manakin is well known to recipients of web-videos as the “Moon Walk” bird. That remarkable display of zipping back and forth by incredibly fast foot motion is its courtship behavior, which is taken to extremes by the various manakins. While most of the 146 species are South American, this manakin is found from Southeastern Mexico through Central America, to Ecuador.