Tranquilo Bay’s Firecrackers

The time for firecrackers at Tranquilo Bay is coming.

The Golden-collared Manakin males are starting now to prepare the courts, which are elliptical, or round, clearings in the leaf matter, on the ground of the forest, where they will practice and do their displays. Those will be the areas where they will face a battle with themselves, and between the members of the lek.

Panama Birding

The word lek could describe an aggregation of males that will perform a competitive display for the visitor females which will select their most suitable male to mate, depending on his coordination of movements or stillness, sounds and  appearance.

The courts are clean and clear, the pre-breeding season is coming to a close and, soon, all those firecracker sounds, made by clapping the wings that have modified feathers, will invade the surroundings of Tranquilo Bay.  This sound will become a part of the Original Tranquilo Bay sound track until June with some outliers in July.  It is the result of a very hard training course that the males had to “take” to meet the female’s high standards of quality performance. This strong female mating decision process (Females are the ones who decide) led the males to their elaborate mating display because they have to convince the female that they are the best option for her.

Manakin Lek Courtship

During breeding season, females will visit those leks and all the males will perform for her. She will compare and decide which male is for her.   When she chooses one, she will join the elected one in the court, following him in his display until he makes a flip and meets her on the same stick.  In just one or two seconds of contact he accomplishes his life’s purpose: transmitting his genes to the next generation.  At that time all the hours cleaning the forest floor and the endless hours of dance practice, suddenly, are completely worth it.

Birdwatching PanamaThe full cycle of competitive dancing will start again next season but let´s first enjoy this breeding season that it is about to come.  They have a lot of shows ahead to offer their females (and us) before we start thinking of next season.

We are ready for the showtime!


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