Wiretailed manakin

Pipra filicauda

SUBFAMILY

Piprinae

TAXONOMY

Pipra filicauda Spix, 1825, Brazil. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Manakin filifere; German: Fadenpipra; Spanish: Saltarín Cola De Hilo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Sexes differ. Length is 4.2 in (10.7 cm). The gaudy males are black above, with scarlet red crown, nape, and upper back, and intense golden yellow undersides, forehead and sides of head.

Both sexes have tail feather shafts that project like long (2 in/5 cm) wire filaments; slightly shorter in the female. Irises are milk white in both sexes.

DISTRIBUTION

Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Amazonian Brazil. HABITAT

Near streams in secondary forest, gallery and seasonally flooded forest.

BEHAVIOR

Males form widely scattered leks in forest 3.3-26 ft (1-8 m) above the forest floor. The courtship displays include swooping and slow butterfly-like short flights, lateral side-jumps, side-to-side twisting with head lowered, crouching and erecting their body feathers, and raising the tail. The wings make mechanical sounds. When a female approaches closely, the male brushes his raised tail filaments against her face and throat. According to Ridgely and Tudor, "This is believed to be the only instance among birds in which modified tail feathers are used primarily in a tactile, as opposed to a visual, manner."

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Small fruits and insects are taken during quick, sallying flights. REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Following copulation, the female alone builds a cup nest in small trees besides streams to lay and incubate eggs and raise the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Locally common in preferred habitats. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Eco-tourists and birdwatchers enjoy seeing the males. ♦

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