The Lance-tailed Manakin has modified central tail feathers, in both sexes, but these are distinctly less remarkable than those of the entirely allopatric Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis). Nevertheless, males are equally unmistakable given the lack of geographical overlap with any of the other ‘blue-backed’ manakins. This manakin ranges from southern Central America, in southwest Costa Rica, to northern South America, where it ranges as far east as northeast Venezuela, and is also found on the offshore island of Margarita. It inhabits all types of woodland with a reasonably open understory, and both dry and more humid semi-deciduous forest. It is also able to tolerate scrubby patches of secondary woodland in semi-open country. In comparison to some of its congenerics, this species’ complex courtship rituals, in which two or more males display cooperatively have been little studied to date.