Lance-tailed Manakins

Hosted by DuVal Lab, Florida State University
Boca Chica, Panama

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About the DuVal Lab Manakin Research

This project is conducted on a 46 ha area of secondary growth dry tropical forest at the eastern end of Isla Boca Brava, Chiriquí Province, Panamá. The dry tropical forest ecosystem has a long dry season and is predominated by deciduous trees that leaf out dramatically as the rains start in April and May each year. Lance-tailed Manakins thrive in the thick underbrush that grows beneath the canopy and are abundant on the study site. Lance-tailed manakins are listed as a species of “least concern” by the IUCN. As the pace of development accelerates in Panama, clear-cutting of undergrowth is the primary factor affecting where manakins occur.

The Lance-tailed Manakins on Isla Boca Brava have been monitored by Emily DuVal and colleagues since 1999 as part of a long-term study of cooperation and mate choice. Current research on variability in cooperative decisions is funded by a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (# 1453408). The current project builds on DuVal’s previous work in this population, which was supported by the National Science Foundation; The Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL; The Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany; the University of California at Berkeley, and the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. Landowner Frank Koehler has kindly granted field site access for the duration of this long-term work.

About The Male Manakins

The alpha male at this display area is PGVm, and his beta partner is WGmT. These “names” are codes for the combination of color and metal bands on their legs that allow us to individually identify them from a distance, as they go about their normal activities. PGVm stands for purple over light green on the left, and dark green over metal on the right. PGVm served as the beta male at this site for years before taking over as alpha. WGmT is white-light green-metal-striped yellow/black. Watch for the flash of WGmT’s yellow-striped band on this right leg to tell them apart during their leapfrog displays. PGVm was first banded as a nestling in April 2006. As of 2016, there have been more than two thousand individual Lance-tailed Manakins banded on Isla Boca Brava. There is naturally high mortality for chicks, with only about 30% of nests fledging in a “good year” – but adults can live very long lives. Our oldest male this year has band #339 and was banded as a second-year male in 2001.

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