Archive for June 17th, 2012

Nature Ramble

Our ramble today takes us to the forests of Colombia and Ecuador to have a look at a strange bird.

Well, it’s not the bird that is strange, but how it makes its mating call.

Dense wing bones help this tiny South American bird to sing make its unique “wing violin music”.

“The only bird known to sing with its wings contains some secrets of its performance in its bones, researchers have found.

The club-winged manakin, which lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, performs a mate-attracting song by rubbing its wings together.”

The male club-winged manakin performs its mating call

“Most birds have hollow wing bones, the club-winged manakin’s are “bulky and solid”.

During a courtship display, male club-winged manakins (Machaeropterus deliciosus) knock their wings above their backs to create sound.

Dr Bostwick thinks that having ridged, vibrating feathers attached to a solid, stiff mass is the best way to make sure the vibrations are emitted from the feather as sound, rather than being absorbed into the bone.

Dr Bostwick was the first to decode the mechanism behind the manakin’s unique sound – revealing a new kind of birdsong.”

Source: BBC News Read the full story

Here’s another manakin species, dubbed “the Michael Jackson” bird…

Red Capped Manakin Pipra mentalis ignifera from Panama

Maybe the fact that the bird lives near coca growing areas explains his dance…

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