Manakins (Aves: Pipridae) are Neotropical birds with a lek mating systems, in which males cluster at traditional display arenas to display for females. Ecuador has about 18 of the 51 species in the family. A few species have the unusual addition of male-male cooperation — for example, obligate dual-male unison song and cartwheel dances in Long-tailed Manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis) in Costa Rica. Ecuador’s Golden-winged Manakins (Masius chrysopterus) perform somewhat coordinated displays. They are particularly interesting because they represent a crucial evolutionary transition along the way from solo display to obligately cooperative. Complex social interactions among males are best modeled by social network analyses. The results indicate that males who are well-connected in the network early in life (first five years) are more successful later in life (10 to 20 years old). In some species (including Golden-winged) one can see the details of the display only with ultra high-speed video.
David McDonald, Ph.D.
University of Wyoming
My Ph.D. at the University of Arizona examined the social behavior of lek-mating Long-tailed Manakins in Costa Rica. I have been a professor at the University of Wyoming for about 20 years. In recent years, I have applied social network analyses to the social interactions of manakins, and to the analysis of dominance hierarchies in a wide variety of taxa. Since 2012, I have studied a color-banded population of Colden-winged Manakins in the Milpe Reserve near Los Bancos, Pichincha. I am on Fulbright sabbatical in Ecuador for the 2017-2018 academic year, collaborating with Dr. Markus Tellkamp of Yachay on conservation of the Black-and-chestnut Eagle.