Wire-tailed Manakin Research
Wire-tailed manakins are a fascinating species of passerine bird found in the Amazon Rainforest. Like many other species of manakins in the family Pipridae, wire-tailed manakins perform acrobatic courtship displays for females. I consider the manakins to be the gymnasts of the bird world because females are thought to judge males based on their ability to perform complex, metabolically-demanding maneuvers. Wire-tailed manakins are especially interesting because of the complex social networks formed between males.
Males perform coordinated displays and these displays form the basis of long-term coalition partnerships between unrelated individuals. Males also exhibit consistent differences in the number of coalition partners and the frequency with which they interact with their partners. Male social behavior is important. More social males have a higher probability of becoming a territory-holder and, among territory-holders, also exhibit higher reproductive success. My collaborators and I use integrative approaches to understand the causes and consequences of variation in male behavior.