Lance-tailed Manakins

Finch Information

Lance-tailed ManakinTheLance-tailed Manakin, Chiroxiphia lanceolata, is a small passerine bird which breeds in tropical Central and South America from Costa Rica to northern Venezuela.

This manakinis a fairly common bird of dry and moist deciduous forests, but not rainforest.

Nesting / Breeding:

The female builds a cup nest in a tree; two brown-mottled cream eggs are laid, and incubated entirely by the female for about 20 days.

The male Lance-tailed Manakin has an interesting breeding display, unusual in that it is cooperative rather than competitive. Two males perch next to each other on a bare stick and jump up and down alternately, sometimes giving short flights. Groups of birds may perform together, with a different stick for each pair of displaying males.


Like other manakins, the Lance-tailed Manakin is a compact, brightly colored forest bird, typically 13.5 cm long and weighing 17.5 g. Both sexes have the two central tail feathers elongated to form a spike.

The male is mainly black, with a red crown patch, bright sky-blue back, and bright orange legs.

The female has olive-green upperparts, and somewhat paler olive underparts. Young males are olive, but show a red cap and the start of a blue back as they mature.

This species is similar to Blue-backed Manakin, Chiroxiphia pareola, which breeds further south and east, but the latter lacks the spiky tail, and the male has a somewhat darker blue back.

Calls / Vocalization:

Lance-tailed has a number of calls, including a Toe-LEE-do, a curry-ho, and a frog-like buzzing croak given by displaying males.

Diet / Feeding:

These manakins eat fruit and some insects.

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