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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis

Alina Kanaksi, Clara Stuligross, Jose I. Pareja, and Wendy Tori
Version: 1.0 — Published May 11, 2012

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Long-tailed Manakins have a particularly large vocal repertoire. Trainer and McDonald (1993) explain that these birds most likely derive their wide repertoire from their complex social system and courtship rituals. Unlike many other species of manakins, Long-tailed Manakins do not utilize mechanical noises, such as pops and snaps produced with the wings or bill, in their vocalizations. Instead, they possess more than thirteen calls. These calls have phonetically been described as toledo; wit; owng; nyanyownh; buzz-weent; teeamoo; weet; waanh; doodoodoo; toodleloo/tuhweeko/federico; wheeoo; chitter; and squawk (Nutting 1884, Slud 1957, McDonald 1989b, Trainer and McDonald 1993). The following descriptions are taken from Trainer and McDonald 1993.

1.Toledo—this is sung loudly as a duet between two males, usually the alpha and beta males but occasionally with other males in the lek. Each tone lasts ca 0.60 seconds. The males usually are positioned 10 centimeters apart on a branch during the duet. Trainer and McDonald (1993) observed male Long-tailed Manakins singing an average of 48.6 toledos per bout at a rate of 15.6 songs per minute. Foster (1977b) observed males singing up to 19 toledos per minute and almost 5,000 calls per day during peak reproduction. McDonald (1989b) observed one pair deliver 1,919 songs over just two hours and some pairs calling over 300 times in an hour. McDonald (1989b) also recorded toledos from a distance of 250 meters.

   2.Wit—this call is sung softly during mating. Given in series of 10-25 calls, this call lasts around 10 s, and functions to help manakins sing together in duets. Manakins will typically perch close by in the canopy and deliver a series of wits back and forth, then move on to a bout of toledos.

   3.Owng—males call owng softly to invite females to their perches. Short in duration, it is sometimes called among a series of toledos and wits. Trainer and McDonald (1993) describe male singing as "erratic"when these interjections occur. They suggest that this type of erratic singing may be associated with luring females that have not yet approached the lekking area.

   4.Nyanyownh—this call is sung by males while they are dancing for females; during the leapfrog dance, males call nyanyownh each time they hop up and down on the branch.

   5.Buzz-weent—like the nyanyownh, this loud call is sung during mating dances directly after a series of leapfrog hops and is believed to assert dominance over other birds; for example, the alpha male in a lek will call buzz-weent to lesser males, and these males make this call to juveniles. This call is also delivered by nonbreeding males, purpose unknown.

   6.Teeamoo—this call lasts just one second and includes two tones, delivered every 20 seconds. Males most commonly sing teeamoo to attract their partners; it is frequently followed by duets of wits and toledos.

   7.Weet—this loud call signals mild distress; for example, if a partner does not reply to a teeamoo call or if the bird sees a human approaching a breeding area.

   8.Waanh—this call is soft and delivered intermittently. Its purpose is uncertain; it is given by males in close proximity engaging in a wide variety of activities—during singing and dancing and also between birds not engaged in mating behavior.

   9.Doodoodoo—delivered from the subcanopy, this call is infrequent and includes 3-4 soft, doos with the same pitch. This call also has an uncertain purpose; it is most commonly given by males not engaged in singing and dancing behavior.

   10.Toodleloo, tuhweeko, federico, etc.—these calls are all soft and infrequent, with varying pitches and lengths delivered infrequently. This, too, has an uncertain purpose; it is not delivered during singing or dancing.

   11.Wheeoo—this call is loud, delivered by multiple male Long-tailed Manakins simultaneously, usually during mobbing to fend off predators. Sometimes they deliver up to 100 calls per minute.

   12.Chitter—this call is delivered by subordinate males to dominant males to signal submissiveness.

   13.Squawk—most commonly delivered by females, this distress call is heard by manakins caught in mist nets.

Nestlings emit soft cheeps constantly, most likely as a call for food. These calls are delivered in series, starting at a higher rate (about 6 cheeps - lasting about 0.062 s - each—per second) and ending with 4 per s (Foster 1976). The cheeps have a broad frequency range, which enables the mother manakin to find her chick. However, the calls are soft and do not travel far; Foster (1976) was unable to hear the hatchling calls at a distance of 1.5 meters from a nest.

Places of vocalizing: The Long-tailed Manakin’s most distinctive vocalization, the toledo, is delivered from branches in the forest subcanopy, between 5-15 m high (Trainer and McDonald 1993).

Repertoire and delivery of songs: Males have an incredibly diverse and large repertoire of calls and songs, as described above. During mating, the toledo is the most prominent song, and interspersed among this delivery are other calls which aid in communication and signaling with other birds (Trainer and McDonald 1993).

Additional recordings of the Long-tailed Manakin can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported. This differs from many other species of manakins that commonly make clicking and snapping sounds with their beaks and wings (Slud 1957, Trainer and McDonald 1993, DuVal 2007).

Recommended Citation

Kanaksi, A., C. Stuligross, J. I. Pareja, and W. Tori (2012). Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.lotman1.01