- The Loom
Feathers That Sing: What A Little Sexual Selection Can Do
If you ever find yourself in the forests of Ecuador, you may have the good fortune of spotting a club-winged manakin. The closest the rest of us will probably ever get will be to watch this video. But don’t just watch it. Listen.
If you said to yourself, “Hold on, is that bird singing with its wings?” the answer is yes.
As I wrote in this 2005 article in the New York Times, ornithologists have long known that a few species of manakins can make sounds with their wings. The sounds are produced by the males, as part of their courtship displays. Some make firecracker pops, and some make whooshing sounds. Darwin pointed to the sounds of manakin wings as evidence