The Magnificence of the Wire-tailed Manakin: A Splendid Orange Crown Completes its Bright Yellow Visage

Many birds of the Amazon Basin are strikingly beautiful, and this bird is no exception, with a bright yellow face and belly topped by a spectacular orange crown.

Meet the Wire-tailed Manakin

Photo Courtesy of Joao Quental/CC BY 2.0

The wire-tailed manakin (Pipra filicauda), is a species of bird in the Pipridae family. These birds measure 11.5cm in length, without taking into consideration the male’s tail filaments, and the female’s 2.5cm filaments. The male has a bright red crown and nape, the rest of his back is black. He does have white internal flight feathers, though these are seldom seen unless he is in flight. The antlers of the tail feathers are protected as unique filaments that curve upward and inward. His forehead, face, and underparts are an electric bright yellow.

Photo Courtesy of Juniorgirotto/CC BY-SA 4.0

The female is olive-green above, and overall somewhat paler in the lower parts, the belly is a paler yellow than the males.

Her tail is also shorter than the male.

This species is found near headwaters in the western Amazon Basin, in Brazil and neighboring countries of northern Peru, eastern Ecuador, Colombia, and in the southern and western portions of Venezuela.

Wire-tailed manakins like to live on the edge of humid, tropical forests, clearings, and sometimes on the edge of agricultural land, especially near watercourses.

These birds eat mainly fruit and berries, but will also hunt and dine on small insects which are caught on the wing in quick darting flights.

Being polygamous, males of the species form scattered leks in the forest, in perches located 1-8 m above the ground. After mating, females fly off alone to build nests, consisting of woven fibers and grass to form a hammock in small trees, usually over water. She lays 1-2 eggs which she then incubates for 17-21 days. She then raises the hatchlings who become fully-fledged in 13-15 days.

Though the current population has not been established, this species is thought to be common, if patchily distributed throughout its breeding range. Without established evidence of a decline in numbers, its population is not considered to be under current threat.

Watch this bird right here in the video below: