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Ceratopipra mentalis

Red-capped Manakin

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Pipridae
  • Polytypic 3 Subspecies

Authors: McDevitt, Meghan Kristine, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and M. C. Arizmendi

Life History


Red-capped Manakins are frugivores. Fruits in the diet include melastomes, aroids, Rubiaceae, and Guatteria (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Red-capped Manakins eat fruit with high water content and low nutrient concentrations. This requires this species to either consume large amounts of fruit or only select the higher quality fruits with higher nutrient concentration. To support this diet, the Red-capped Manakin’s digestive system is adapted to processing large amounts of fruit. The stomach is very small and no fruit is held in the proventriculus, leading to rapid gut evacuation. This is how such a large volume of fruit is consumed each day and the maximum amount of nutrients is acquired. The Red-capped Manakin also does not have a structure for storing food (crop) like many other bird species (Worthington 1989).

Besides fruit, the Red-capped Manakin has also been observed plucking insects from the foliage and eating them. They also have been reported to forage following army ants, which allow them to seize insects that are trying to get away (Skutch 1949).


It perch alone and quiet, and make sudden flights to capture its food. It catch fruits in flight, or if possible directly from the perch. Insects are usually caught in flight. Occasionally in mixed-species flocks from follow ant groups and capture insects fleeing of these.

Generally forage in the midstory of forest.

Little information on metabolism. Mean body temperature in Panama 41.2º C (n = 24, range 37.8-43.8º C; Oniki 1972).


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Sexual Behavior

As in other species of Pipra, male Red-capped Manakins display at leks (courtship assemblies); leks of Red-capped Manakins may include up to five males (Skutch 1949). Male Red-capped Manakins perform from a display perch that they choose for the entire breeding season. This is typically a straight, slender, and horizontal branch that is free of foliage and in an open area that is unobstructed by surrounding vegetation (Skutch 1949).

There are four displays that are commonly made during courtship. The first one is the about-face, in which the male pivots back and forth and reveals the yellow "thighs". The backward slide is where the male moves backward along its display perch in a way that resembles a sliding or gliding movement. The male also displays by darting back and forth between his perch and the surrounding vegetation, snapping the wings each time he leaves the perch. The fourth display is a circling flight in which the male flies around several m away and then returns to his perch (Skutch 1949).

Social and interspecific behavior

Solitary, other than small groups of males at the lek.


Komar (2003) reported predation on Red-capped Manakins, captive in mist nets, by White Hawk (Pseudastur albicollis).


Most information on breeding is from Skutch (1949) and Wikelski et al (2003). Red-capped Manakins breed from March to June in Costa Rica, and from February to July in Panama. The nest is a small cup suspended in a fork from 1.5-9 m above the ground. It is constructed of plant fibers woven with black fungal filaments; externally has a variable number of pieces of dry leaves, and is attached to the fork with spider web. The clutch size is 2 eggs, the first is laid towards noon, and the second 48 hours later, the eggs are dark grayish buff, with brown spots. The chicks have pinkish skin and are covered with gray down.

Red-capped Manakins show regressed gonads from October to January, which is the season of heavy rainfall. Tropical birds generally maintain a lower testosterone concentration and smaller gonads in order to decrease energy expenditure in the warm climate that they live in (Wikelski et al 2003).

Only the female builds the nest, incubates the eggs and provisions the nestlings.

Populations and Demography

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Recommended Citation

McDevitt, Meghan Kristine, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and M. C. Arizmendi. 2011. Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: