Results tagged “club-winged manakins” from PlanetGreen.org

Club-Winged Manakins Sing By Vibrating Feathers

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It’s not a new idea that crickets chirp by rubbing together their toothed wings, but new studies suggest that birds also vibrate their wings to attract mates. Although an animal singing by rubbing together parts of its body is a practice common among arachnids and insects, only one vertebrate is known to “sing,” or even to make noise, in that manner.



Male club-winged manakins, found in the rainforests of Ecuador, make a series of high-pitched notes, so fast that the individual tones are indistinguishable, every time they flap their wings. Other birds’ flapping may sound like clapping or wind, but this songbird’s sound is unique. To the manakins, which are territorial, the noise is used to attract female birds and to tell other male birds to leave their region.

Manakins flap their wings over 100 times a second, or twice the speed of a hummingbird. On one wing, one feather had seven bumps and on the other wing one feather was stiff and curved, serving as a bow for the bird’s ridged feather. Every time the bird flaps its wings, the stiff feather vibrates against the ridges, producing the unusual sound. The surrounding feathers, which also quiver when the feathers are struck, strengthen the noise.

To find out more about this unusual animal behavior:
Tuning-fork feathers give bird its ‘singing’ wings
Bird “Sings” Through Feathers

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