The Blue-backed Manakin is a small, brightly-colored manakin; the male is black overall with a pale, blue-back and red cap, the female is bright green overall. Pairs or individuals can be found in the subcanopy and undergrowth of humid forests and mature secondary woodland foraging for small fruits and insects. Like other manakins, the male Blue-backed Manakin has a ritualized display which it performs repeatedly for nearby females during the breeding season. Oftentimes, during this display, two males will associate in complete harmony, coordinating their dancing and singing precisely. This display may last several minutes. There are four described subspecies of the Blue-backed Manakin and several of the subspecies are isolated geographically. Despite the fact that the Blue-backed Manakin is uncommon to locally common throughout its range, it has not been placed on any threatened species lists.