A tiny manakin, typically 9.4 cm. Legs and eyes dark. Males mostly glossy blue black with contrasting white throat, were lengthened feathers form a ruff (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). Female mostly olive-green, somewhat paler below, with greyish on throat and sides of head, and pale yellowish belly (Hilty and Brown 1986; Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Rigdley and Tudor 1994, Restall et al. 2006). Immature male is like female with white on throat only just emerging (Restall et al. 2006).
Male is unmistakable in its range (Restall et al. 2006). Largely glossy blue black-male with stunning white throat and ruff is unique in the species’ range and should prove unmistakable given a reasonable view (Kirwan and Green 2012). White-bibbed Manakin male resembles White-throated Manakin (Corapipo gutturalis) male, but White-bibbed Manakin is slightly larger with dark bill and with white throat patch lengthened at sides to form a ruff. Females are far less distinctive, but the pale (greyish) throat should serve as a useful distinguishing mark from the female of Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis), which is also paler green above and has largely feathered tarsi in both sexes (Kirwan and Green 2012). Female much like various female Pipra manakins, though none of these show grayish on face and throat. White-bibbed Manakin female is especially similar to White-crowned Manakin (Dixiphia pipra) female (Rigdley and Tudor 1994), and similar to the female of Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) (Hilty 2003). Females of White bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus) and Golden-collared Manakin (Manacus vitellinus) are larger and have orange legs (Hilty & Brown 1986), and female of Stripped Manakin (Machaeropterus regulus) usually shows streaking bellow and pinkish on flanks (Hilty 2003). Female much like female of Red-capped Manakin, but throat distintly gray and upper parts brighter.
White-bibbed Manakin is a little bird with a proportionally long tail for its body size. Hilty (2003) describes it as “tiny”. Males are characterized by a glossy blue black and throat white. Feathers at sides of throat and neck lengthened to form ruff and sometimes under tail coverts tipped white (Hilty & Brown 1986). Both sexes expose an arched culmen, sometimes with a relatively striking hooked tip and large rounded nostrils (Kirwan and Green 2012). Adult males: are glossy blue-black with a white throat patch; females and first-year males are olive-green, usually with a greyish tint on the throat (Rosselli 1994). Almost the entire plumage is glossy bluish-black, with the exception of the white chin, throat and most of the ear coverts to the neck-sides and the dusky primaries and inner webs of the secondaries (Kirwan and Green 2012). Adult Females: The upper parts are entirely olive green, whilst below the chin and throat are pale grey to grayish olive-green, and the breast, breast-sides and flanks are pale-olive green, ith a pale yellowish belly and undertail-coverts (Kirwan and Green 2012). Immature male: is like adult female, but throat is paler or mixed white; two year birds gain blackish mask and white throat (Hilty 2003).
In a study of one year in Costa Rica, the molting period for flight-feathers was at a peak in July 1987, and extended until November (Rosselli 1994). Initiation of molt of the flight-feathers was followed by a complete molt of the body plumage in individuals at least one-year-old. The complete process may take from two to three months, according to data obtained from the successive recaptures of molting individuals (Rosselli 1994).
Black bill (Restall et al. 2006), eyes, and legs (Hilty 2003).
Body length of White-bibbed Manakin lies between 9.5 cm (Rigdley and Tudor 1994) and 9.7 cm in Venezuela (Hilty 2003). N. Colombia, 9.4 cm (Hilty and Brown, 1986). In Costa Rica, the sexes are similar in size, but females (12.5 ± 1.0 g, n = 30) are significantly heavier than males (11.1 ± 0.8 g, n = 87) and first-year individuals of unknown sex (11.71 ± 0.8 g, n = 57) (Rosselli 1994). In Venezuela the weight of this species is 12.5 (Hilty 2003).