The Magic of the Red Capped Manakin

Whew!  It has been a while since my last blog post!  For the past few weeks, I have been working the evening shift at work, which is from 3 pm until 10:30 pm, so that gives me all day to be awake and doing things, most importantly, writing blog posts!  Last week I worked the morning shift though, which is from 6:45 am until about 3 pm. By the time I would finally get home from work I would do some chores, meet some friends for dinner, and then go to bed!  As fun as the morning shift was, it was not quite conducive to writing blog posts!  But I am back now and that is all that matters!

Since my last post crazy things have been happening!  My sister, Maddie, left for her semester in Australia, and that was very exciting.  She has her own blog at http://mgschweers.wordpress.com/ if you know her and would care to follow her adventures in the land down under!  It is kind of lonely without her, so good thing I have been working long hours to keep me occupied.  Anyway, onto the meat of today’s post!

This post, as you may be able to tell so far, is not a Tea and Books! post.  This post is a Now You Know post.  I am going to use Now You Know posts to pass on interesting tidbits that I find while watching nature documentaries, reading books, learning in class, or whatever strikes my fancy!  This week the post is going to be about the Red-capped Manakin.

I first found out about the Red-capped Manakin while watching the new Discovery Channel show, North America.  I just happened to be watching the episode where they mentioned the Red-capped Manakin, and let me just say, this bird is awesome!  The Red-capped Manakin has this fantastic mating dance that it does where the bird looks like it is moonwalking!  How cool is that!?

The Red-capped Manakin is found mainly in parts of Central and South America.  They are non-migratory, have a diet that consists mainly of fruit, and they are fairly solitary birds (aside from when trying to find a mate that is!). Aside from being a wonderful dancer, this bird is also very flamboyant.  It has a bright red head, a solid black body, and VIBRANT yellow legs.  The male Red-capped Manakin uses these colors to help attract the ladies.  The lady Red-capped Manakins are a dull greenish color, and alt they are not as vibrant as the males, they are pretty in their own way.

All of these facts are fun and they definitely help show how awesome the Red-capped Manakin is, but the best is yet to come! The reason that the Red-capped Manakin is so great is its mating ritual!  The Red-capped Manakin is usually a silent bird, though there are several noises that they make during their mating dances.  One of these noises is a snapping sound that the male makes with its wings.  This is something that is done so quickly that it cannot be seen by the human eye!  To see the way that the wings make this sound, scientists have had to set up high-definition, slow motion cameras.

The best part of the Red-capped Manakin’s mating dance though is the moonwalk.  I am not even joking, this bird can moonwalk with the best of them! For a good visual of the Red-capped Manakin dancing, there is a ling above.  Animals like this are the reason that I love watching nature documentaries.  How else would I have known about the moonwalking Red-capped Manakin!

I think that is enough about the Red-capped Manakin for now.  If you are interested in learning more, I would recommend the site neotropical.birds.cornell.edu.  This is where I found a lot of the information for this article (more specifically I found most of my information at http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=505356).  I would also recommend watching North America, but that is just because it is a great show, and who knows! Maybe you will find a new favorite animal in the process!

Razzle

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