The manakin though is not alone in its performative courting. Many “birds of paradise” (found largely in the forests of New Guinea) have spectacular rituals to attract their mate. Not only do they have a cornucopia of colours, patterns and shapes among their 45 different species, but they also know how to show off.
These courtship moves include, but are certainly not limited to, puffing up their feathers in new ways to show off special colours, scrubbing their nests – and even decorating them with shiny stolen items – tidying up, and, of course, singing. Such displays can last for hours, and in many species they consume a significant part of the male’s time.
A delightful segment on these birds from BBC’s Planet Earth series, narrated by David Attenborough, is unmissable when marvelling at birds of paradise. Also seen below is the fascinating and surprisingly hypnotic performance by a Bowerbird, in a bid to gain a female’s favour.