What Males Will Do
Photo Gallery: Manakin Anatomy

  • Paul T. Callender

    The manakin mating note is a G, a perfect fifth above middle C. I know this because I am one of those peculiar humans who have perfect (or absolute) pitch. I was watching the program “What Males Will Do,” and I noticed that the the note produced by the beating together of its wings was invariably the same. I’m not sure if this is significant information or not, or if there was only one manakin involved in the recording. What startled me was the fact that it was an identifiable musical note, unlike any “birdsong” I have ever heard. Do all manakins produce a G, or do some husky specimens manage an A flat? Or maybe an undernourished fellow can only manage an F sharp? And what do the females think (respond to)?

    If possible, please pass this along to the scientist involved. It may open a new area of inquiry for her. And thank you all for Nature. It is one of the few reasons I still watch television…

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