Red-capped Manakin
The Moonwalking Bird

Red-capped Manakin Moonwalking BirdThe Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis), aka the Moonwalking Bird, is an amazing little bird.

Its famous "moonwalking" behavior captured on film is one of my all-time favorite bird videos. I actually first saw the bird on on an episode of the NATURE series, "Deep Jungle".

Did Michael Jackson Do The Manakin Walk?

Manakins are sparrow-sized birds that live in tropical forests in South and Central America.

There are over 50 species of Manakins and they all perform elaborate courtship displays to impress females. Included in its repertoire is Michael Jackson's moonwalk....

Or did Michael Jackson do the Manakin moonwalk? Maybe he stole it from the birds!

Even people who aren't into birding are amazed by the "moonwalking bird".

It's Not A Trick! Manakins Deserve Props

Red-capped Manakin known as the tropical moonwalking dance birdI've seen comments from people that say "...that's not real, it's trick photography," but amazingly, it's not.

It's just slowed-down videography caught on special high-speed cameras.

Super Slow-Mo Videography

This advanced camera can capture a few seconds of action at up to 1,000 frames per second. Kim Bostwick, an animal behaviorist who studied Manakins, captured their behaviors on film at 500 frames/second.

So what you are seeing in the video is not real-time. It's so slowed down so much it almost looks fake. But it's not.

Red-capped Manakin Moonwalk Video (shows wing-noise displays and moonwalk)

The high-speed film also helped to explain how the Manakins made all the weird buzzes and other noises when displaying.

It's produced not vocally, but rather by the vibration of their wing tips. They actually move faster than a hummingbird's wings!

Biologist Explains Choreography of Dance as Red-capped Manakin Dances to "Billy Jean"

Here are some other Funny Bird Videos and our Bird ID Tips.

Hope you enjoyed watching the Red-capped Manakin and his impressive moonwalk!

Photo of Red-capped Manakin (top) courtesy of Dominic Sherony via Wikimedia Commons

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