The Long-tailed Manakin has a fantastic vocal repertoire to accompany a fantastic mating system. Male Long-tailed Manakins form alliances and gather at mating arenas called "leks". Pairs of males try to attract females to these leks by singing loud toledo duets from high in the forest canopy. When a female arrives in the area, the two males descend to a dance perch near the forest floor. On this perch, the two males perform an acrobatic display for the female. The males flip and cartwheel overtop of one another while singing their unusual dance song. The males continue to dance for several minutes, with their dance song growing in speed and intensity. If the female is sufficiently impressed, the dominant male gives the "buzz-kweet" call and the subordinate male leaves the dance perch. The dominant male then performs a silent display for the female, flying back and forth over the dance perch and flapping his wings with deep strokes, like the flight of a bat or a butterfly. The female may then decide to copulate with the dominant male. It is an astonishing mating display!

Below you can hear fourteen different vocalizations sung by long-tailed manakins. Click on the sound spectrograms or the names of the calls to hear the sound files. Several of the calls are long-range signals which travel far through the tropical forest, while many are short-range signals which can only be heard at close proximity.

popcorn call / pit-pit-pit


The male-male toledo duet is the Long-tailed Manakin's most prominent call. In fact, the Spanish common name for Long-tailed Manakins is "Toledo"! The toledo duet is a long-range signal given by pairs of males to attract females.
The popcorn call is a quiet vocalization given by pairs of males before they sing a bout of toledo duets. It appears to function in coordinating the two males' songs. The pit-pit-pit sound is sung by both males and may be thought of as a duet.

The owng call is a quiet vocalization given by males while they are singing in the canopy. It may stimulate a newly-arrived female to descend to the dance perch so the males can begin their display. It usually sounds like a question: owng?

dance song

The dance song is a loud call given by pairs of males as they perform their acrobatic display. Each time a male leap-frogs over the other male, he sings one syllable of this song. Therefore, the dance song may be thought of as a form of duet.

After a period of leap-frog dancing, the loud buzz-kweet call is given by the dominant male. The subordinate male usually leaves the area after this call, at which point the dominant male may perform a solo display.

The waanh call is a relatively quiet whine given by males from the subcanopy. It is sung by both young and old males in a variety of contexts, usually away from their dance perch.

pee-wit / pee-wit-oh

The teeamoo call is a long-range signal given by the dominant male to attract his subordinate male partner. The teeamoo call can be thought of as the call an alpha male gives to tell his beta male to "get to work!"

The pee-wit-oh call is similar to the teeamoo, but it is quieter and the first syllable rises at the end. The function of the pee-wit and the pee-wit-oh calls are unclear.

This weet call is a loud sound given from the subcanopy. It is an alarm call.


The wheeoo call is also an alarm call. Many Long-tailed Manakins will gather together and sing wheeo choruses in the presence of a predator or a rival Long-tailed Manakin.

The doo-doo-doo call is a series of three or four repeated notes that subtly fall in pitch. It is a somewhat quiet vocalization given from the subcanopy and its function is unclear.

This is a very quiet vocalization which is similar to the doo-doo-doo call, except that the notes alternately rise and fall in pitch. Like the pee-wit / pee-wit-oh and doo-doo-doo calls, the function of the toodleloo call is unclear.

male chitter
female chitter

Male chitter is a very quiet vocalization. It appears to be given primarily by subordinate males.

Female chitter is a very quiet and rarely-heard vocalization. It is more variable than male chitter and its function is unknown.

The squawk sound is a distress call given by Long-tailed Manakins when they are caught in mist-nets. We have not heard it in any other context.

The following paper is recommended reading for anyone interested in the details of the Long-tailed Manakin's vocal repertoire:

Trainer JM & McDonald DB. 1993. Vocal repertoire of the long-tailed manakin and its relation to male-male cooperation. Condor 95:769-781. 
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Note that Jill Trainer and Dave McDonald use slightly different terminology in their article than we do on this webpage.  What we call the "popcorn call / pit-pit-pit" they call "wit".  What we call the "buzz-kweet" they call the "buzz-weent".  What we call the "dance song" they call "nyanyownh". They use the term "toodleloo" to describe a number of variable vocalizations; we subdivide this category into the "toodleloo" vocalization and the "pee-wit / pee-wit-oh" sounds. 

This page was coauthored by Dan Mennill and Stephanie Doucet.

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