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Flickr - Rainbirder - Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis).jpg
Male long-tailed manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Parvorder: Tyrannida
Family: Pipridae
Rafinesque, 1815

Many, see text

Manakin (Pipridae) area.svg
Manakin range

The manakins are a family, Pipridae, of small suboscine passerine birds. The group contains some 54 species distributed through the American tropics. The name is from Middle Dutch mannekijn "little man" (also the source of the different bird name mannikin).[1]


They range in size from 7 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in) and in weight from 8 to 30 g (0.28 to 1.06 oz). The genus thy the Tyranneutes comprise the smallest manakins, the genus Antilophia are believed to be the largest (since the genus Schiffornis are no longer considered manakins). They are compact stubby birds with short tails, broad and rounded wings, and big heads. The bill is short and has a wide gap. Females and first-year males have dull green plumage; most species are sexually dichromatic in their plumage,[2] the males being mostly black with striking colours in patches,[3] and in some species having long, decorative tail or crown feathers or erectile throat feathers. In some species, males from two to four years old have a distinctive subadult plumage.[2]

The syrinx or "voicebox" is distinctive in manakins, setting them apart from the related families Cotingidae and Tyrannidae. Furthermore, it is so acutely variable within the group that genera and even species may be identified by the syrinx alone, unlike birds of most oscine families. The sounds made are whistles, trills, and buzzes.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Manakins occur from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil, and on Trinidad and Tobago as well. They are highly arboreal and are almost exclusively forest and woodland birds. Most species live in humid tropical lowlands, with a few in dry forests, river forests,[2] and the subtropical Andes.[4] Some highland species have altitudinal migrations.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Neopelma chrysolophum – Serra do Mar tyrant-manakin

Tyranneutes – 2 species: tyrant-manakins

Neopelma – 4 species: tyrant-manakins

Ilicura – pin-tailed manakin

Masius – golden-winged manakin

Corapipo – 3 species

Chiroxiphia – 5 species with Antilophia – 2 species

Xenopipo – 2 species

Chloropipo – 2 species

Cryptopipo – green manakin

Lepidothrix – 8 species

Heterocercus – 3 species

Manacus – 4 species

Pipra – 3 species

Machaeropterus – 5 species

Pseudopipra – white-crowned manakin

Ceratopipra – 5 species

Phylogeny based on a study of the suboscines by Michael Harvey and colleagues published in 2020. The genera Chiroxiphia and Neopelma were found to be paraphyletic.[5]


Manakins feed in the understorey on small fruit (but often remarkably large for the size of the bird[4]) including berries, and to a lesser degree, insects. Since they take fruit in flight as other species "hawk" for insects, they are believed to have evolved from insect-eating birds. Females have big territories from which they do not necessarily exclude other birds of their species, instead feeding somewhat socially. Males spend much of their time together at courtship sites. Manakins sometimes join mixed feeding flocks.[2]


Many manakin species have spectacular lekking courtship rituals, which are especially elaborate in the genera Pipra and Chiroxiphia. The members of the genera Machaeropterus and Manacus have heavily modified wing feathers, which they use to make buzzing and snapping sounds. Members of Manacus and Ceratopipra have superfast wing movements, thought to have evolved through a gradual process of gene expression changes throughout manakin evolution. [6]

Building of the nest (an open cup, generally low in vegetation), the incubation for 18 to 21 days, and care of the young for 13 to 15 days are undertaken by the female alone, since most manakins do not form stable pairs. (The helmeted manakin does form pairs, but the male's contribution is limited to defending the territory.) The normal clutch is two eggs, which are buff or dull white, marked with brown.[2]

Lekking polygyny seems to have been a characteristic of the family's original ancestor, and the associated sexual selection led to an adaptive radiation in which relationships may be traced by similarities in displays. An evolutionary explanation connecting lekking to fruit-eating has been proposed.[2]

Species list[edit]

The family Pipridae was introduced (as Pipraria) by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815.[7][8] The members of the genus Schiffornis were previously placed in this family, but are now placed in Tityridae.[9]

Image Genus Living Species
Dixiphia pipra - male.jpg Pseudopipra Kirwan et al, 2016
Rabo de arame.jpg Pipra Linnaeus, 1764
Golden-headed Manakin RWD.jpg Ceratopipra Bonaparte, 1854
Lepidothrix coronata 1.jpg Lepidothrix Bonaparte, 1854
Antilophia galeata -Reserva Ambiental, Piraju, Sao Paulo, Brasil -male-8 (1).jpg Antilophia L. Reichenbach, 1850
Flickr - Rainbirder - Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis).jpg Chiroxiphia Cabanis, 1847
Pin-tailed manakin (Ilicura militaris).jpg Ilicura L. Reichenbach, 1850
Masius chrysopterus - male.jpg Masius Bonaparte, 1850
White-Ruffed Manakin.jpg Corapipo Bonaparte, 1854
White-collared Manakin - Sarapiqui - Costa Rica MG 0596 (26585018422).jpg Manacus Brisson, 1760
Machaeropterus deliciosus -NW Ecuador-6.jpg Machaeropterus Hahn, 1819
Xenopipo Cabanis, 1847
Green Manakin fem - South Ecuador S4E1153 (16638948837).jpg Cryptopipo Ohlson et al., 2013
  • Green manakin, Cryptopipo holochlora
  • Lita manakin, Cryptopipo (holochlora) litae
Chloropipo Cabanis & Heine, 1859
Heterocercus flavivertex - Yellow-crowned Manakin.JPG Heterocercus Strickland, 1850
Neopelma chrysolophum - Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin.jpg Neopelma P.L. Sclater, 1861
Tyranneutes virescens - Tiny tyrant Manakin.JPG Tyranneutes P.L. Sclater & Salvin, 1881


  1. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed., 2005), p. 1032.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Prum, Richard O.; Snow, David W. (2003). "Manakins". In Perrins, Christopher (ed.). The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. pp. 434–437. ISBN 978-1-55297-777-4.
  3. ^ Lanyon, Scott N. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 167–168. ISBN 978-1-85391-186-6.
  4. ^ a b Snow, D. W. (2004). Family Pipridae (Manakins). Pp. 110-169 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Christie, D. A. eds (2004). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9. Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-69-5
  5. ^ Harvey, M.G.; Bravo, G.A.; Claramunt, S.; Cuervo, A.M.; Derryberry, G.E.; Battilana, J.; Seeholzer, G.F.; McKay, J.S.; O’Meara, B.C.; Faircloth, B.C.; Edwards, S.V.; Pérez-Emán, J.; Moyle, R.G.; Sheldon, F.H.; Aleixo, A.; Smith, B.T.; Chesser, R.T.; Silveira, L.F.; Cracraft, J.; Brumfield, R.T.; Derryberry, E.P. (2020). "The evolution of a tropical biodiversity hotspot". Science. 370 (6522): 1343–1348. Bibcode:2020Sci...370.1343H. doi:10.1126/science.aaz6970. hdl:10138/329703. PMID 33303617. S2CID 228084618.
  6. ^ Pease, J; Driver, R; de la Cerda, D; Day, L; Lindsay, W; Schinger, B; Schuppe, E; Balakrishnan, C; Fuxjager, M (2022). "Layered evolution of gene expression in "superfast" muscles for courtship". PNAS. 119 (14): e2119671119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2119671119. PMID 35363565. S2CID 247865808.
  7. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel (1815). Analyse de la nature ou, Tableau de l'univers et des corps organisés (in French). Palermo: Self-published. p. 66.
  8. ^ Bock, Walter J. (1994). History and Nomenclature of Avian Family-Group Names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Vol. Number 222. New York: American Museum of Natural History. pp. 149, 252. hdl:2246/830.
  9. ^ Remsen, J. V. Jr., C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, & K. J. Zimmer. 2007. A classification of the bird species of South America. Archived 2009-03-02 at the Wayback Machine American Ornithologists' Union. Accessed 12 December 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ohlson, J.I.; Fjeldså, J.; Ericson, P.G.P. (2013). "Molecular phylogeny of the manakins (Aves: Passeriformes: Pipridae), with a new classification and the description of a new genus". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 69 (3): 796–804. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.06.024. PMID 23831559.

External links[edit]