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Manakins- Costa Rica Bird Photography at Its Best

In Costa Rica, we are fortunate to have a fantastic variety of avian subjects begging to be captured by the camera. Colorful and comical toucans, majestic macaws, dozens of glittering times, it can hard to know which birds to focus on first! However, of the many types of birds in Costa Rica that are especially suited for the camera, one family of birds is in a class of its own. This special group of little birds are called, "manakins"; a family of small, feather decorated frugivores that literally dance for attention.

Eight species of these cool characters occur in Costa Rica and most are fairly common. Even so, since most also prefer forested areas, and can quickly move between perches, they can be a challenge to photograph. As with so many bird species, on our Costa Rica bird photography tours, we get the shot by (1) knowing where to find them, (2) having a good understanding of their behavior, and (3) having the patience to wait and get the best shots possible. These are the eight species of manakins waiting for you and your camera in Costa Rica:

Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis)

This beautiful little bird is a common resident of lowland rainforest in many parts of Costa Rica. Even so, despite the bright red cap, it can hide surprisingly well in the dim recesses of the forest understory. Luckily, we know of several sites where males lek and do their amazing "moonwalk" dance to attract females.

Velvety Manakin (Lepidothrix velutina)

This image of a Velvety Manakin was taken at Casa Botania, San Vito, by David Rodriguez.

Formerly known as the "Blue-crowned Manakin", the birds that live in Costa Rica were recently split from the Blue-crowned Manakins of the Amazon. This jet black bird with a sapphire cap is fairly common in rainforests on the South Pacific slope. We often find it fruiting bushes and trees and at bathing pools in the forest.

White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei)