The stunning and highly distinctive pin-tailed manakin (Ilicura militaris) is a species of bird in the family Pipridae. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Ilicura. It is endemic to eastern Brazil, where its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.
The Pin-tailed Manakin is not rare, but it is nonetheless highly prized by birdwatchers, particularly as its strangely quiet vocalizations can render it unobtrusive, making encounters much less frequent than with other manakins that occur in the same region. Moreover, Male manakins are well-known for their elaborate group courtship displays, which habitually take place on gathering grounds called “leks.”
Thus, Female manakins visit these leks to pick a mate from the group of displaying males. The male Pin-tailed Manakins “dance” alone, making whirring and snapping sounds with particular wing and tail feathers and flashing their bright red rump feathers during short, rapid flights.
Males have flashy plumage, while females are a dull greenish color. These small, short-tailed birds tend to be solitary but can occur within mixed-species flocks. The male Pin-tailed Manakin is one of the prettiest manakins, and even the female is hard to confuse given that it shares the male’s “unusual” head shape and ‘pin-tail’ central rectrices. The pin-tailed manakin prefers humid forest, woodlots, and mature second growth, perhaps most often in valleys.
The specie’s systematic relationships have only recently been elucidated, although its uniqueness has long been recognized by taxonomists. Though, some facets of the Pin-tailed Manakin’s life history, in particular, its breeding biology and diet, are still relatively inadequately known. This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion hence the species is evaluated as Least Concern.