The colors of the “Pipra filicauda” or jumping wire tail, stand out among the green tones of the Amazonian leaves. It is possible to find them in the tropical jungle, in the interior of the Yasuni National Park, contrasting not only with the landscape, but also with other birds.
Wire-tailed Manakin is one of the most beautiful birds that can be found in this area of the world. “Birdwatchers” and bird lovers from all over the planet travel to Ecuador to observe it in their natural habitat; where in addition to appreciating its beauty, its curious habits can be appreciated in a better way.
The male and female have great differences in appearance. Although both measure more or less the same – 12 centimeters in length, approximately – the tail of the male the longest – about 4 centimeters -, while that of the female reaches only one pair. However, the main differences between these two genres can be clearly seen meters away, due to the unevenness of their colors.
The male proudly carries 3 spectacular tones on his body, bright and striking. His head, from the nape to his back, is bright red, almost phosphorescent. The lower part, from the beak to its wings, passing through the chest, is a strong yellow and, as the color dissipates towards the end of its body, the feathers change to jet black and gleaming. Its tail is also curious-reason why it bears this name-it is long, thin and with hard feathers. It is curved slightly upwards and inwards, which assimilates to a wire.
The female, however, does not suffer the same fate, at least as far as eye-catching appearance is concerned. Neither bright colors nor shocking contrasts. “The” Pipra filicauda is a green color, although neither very clear, nor very dark, almost olive. Its wings reach darker tones, especially at the edges, while its belly is paler. In general, its plumage does not look like a definite uniform tone, but rather a messy one. Its tail, although it also resembles an alum and shares the same nickname as the male, is slightly shorter, reaching approximately 2 centimeters.
We have already revealed the explanation of the “wire tail”. But why are they called “jumping”?
El “Pipra filicauda” es una especie de hábitos curiosos. Sin embargo, la razón de este apodo solo se adjudica a los machos. Para cortejar a la hembra, los “saltarines” machos se reúnen en pequeños grupos junto a otros machos para realizar una exhibición de sus “talentos”. Esto es conocido en la naturaleza como “leks”: instancias en la que cada uno de los individuos de la agrupación compite por ser el elegido por la hembra para el ritual de apareamiento. Este “talento” corresponde a la danza.
Perched on a branch, the “jumping” will begin by moving his head from one side to another, quickly, as if taking the rhythm, then give way to the jumps. towards here and there, the jumps of the “Pipra filicauda” are short and fast, persistent. Then continue repeating the head movement following this sequence.
Sometimes he stays face to face with the female, and sometimes he turns around, like another pirouette in his routine. Later he will add a third movement that is one of the most striking, it is about the hip movement. A short and fast wiggle from left to right, again and again. And for the grand finale: the majestic display of its feathers. Bristling like a frightened cat, the “jumping” teaches the female his colors, separating his feathers and moving them with frenzy. An amazing spectacle to witness.
The “Pipra filicauda” in addition to jumping and dancing, is also related to other artists in the family. Well, not exactly. The “jumping alitadocido” or “jumping lightning”, is another bird known for its courtship, which also takes the extreme to excel and be chosen in front of the other males. The “jumping alitadocido” has incredible hidden talent. Although it is not exactly singing, if it is related to the ability to make sounds with their wings. Most other birds “sing” using the muscles of their throat, however, this specimen creates a sound with its flutter, very similar to that of a string instrument, such as violin or guitar.
Would not it be interesting to have the chance to see both “saltarines”, the “wire-tailed” and the “alitorcido”, acting together, in an incomparable spectacle of natural art?
Thanks to our “birding tour”, at Napo Wildlife Center you will have the opportunity to go in search of these beautiful specimens and many others, amid the incredible biodiversity that the Ecuadorian Amazon shelters. Prepare your binoculars and your best camera to start this spectacular adventure!