[A wire-tailed manakin perches on a narrow branch. He turns around a couple times, then flies away. He flies back to the branch while making a noise. He puffs his feathers and rapidly turns back and forth again and again while quivering his wings. He flies away again. He returns once more and fluffs his feathers. He remains very still, then flies away briefly before returning and continuing the display. He fluffs his feathers, quickly turns, moves his wings, and calls.] [Explore MacaulayLibrary.org]

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The Wire-tailed Manakin’s dance may be one of the most impressive in the bird world, but it can’t be performed on just any dance floor. Like many other species with elaborate displays, the male very carefully selects his dance site relative to the sites of other males in the area. Together these sites are known as an exploded lek. Each male picks a location that is easily visible to females and then carefully maintains it, clearing away anything that might obscure the view or get in the way of his performance.

This video accompanies Chapter 9, Avian Mating and Social Behavior,, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Timothy G Laman, Macaulay Library