The Golden-collared Manakin is exclusively found in Panama and western Colombia, and is known to hybridize with two congenerics, the White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei) in northwest Panama and the White-bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus) in Colombia, which evidence has been used sometimes to maintain all four Manacus as a single species. Males are very distinctive birds, a mixture of principally yellow and black feathering, while the drab females are largely green, enabling them to blend into the forest, which is important to minimize the risk of detection when incubating eggs or young. This manakin is principally found in mature secondary woodland and at forest borders, as well as in clearings that are regenerating. Leks are often sited near an opening, for instance a streambed. Despite much recent interest in the ecology and behavior, especially social hierarchies, of manakins, the most detailed and wide-ranging study of the Golden-collared Manakin was conducted in Panama as long ago as the 1930s.