Watch: It needs the fastest known muscle contraction in vertebrae to make the manakin bird sing
Over 100 flaps per second.
The incredible song-and-dance routine of the club-winged manakin bird is seen in all its glory in a video posted by The Field Museum. A native of South America, this bird flaps its ridged wings at an astonishing speed of 107 times per second.
This allows the manakin to “sing with its wings,” as it were, creating loud a combination of violinesque wails and mechanical buzzing. The video above shows the flapping in slow motion as well.
While this technique is common among insects – crickets, for example – it is rare among birds. Even the legendary hummingbird only flaps its wings at about 75-90 beats per second, making the beautiful manakin the owner of the fastest muscle contraction among vertebrates.