The Manakins are a family of small passerine birds. This group contains about 60 species that are distributed across the American tropics. Hybridization has been documented in several genera, including a few intergeneric hybrids. Parkes (1961) discusses several presumed hybrids that have been mentioned by others, but he is hesitant to confirm the documented hybridization. The following list summarizes confirmed hybrids from later studies:

  • White-fronted Manakin (Lepidothrix [Pipra] serena) x Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix [Pipra] coronata) (Stotz, 1993)
  • White-crowned Manakin (Dixiphia pipra) x Wire-tailed Manakin (Pipra filicauda) (Graves, 1993)
  • Blue Manakin (Chiroxiphia caudata) x Helmeted Manakin (Antilophia galeata) (Pacheco & Parrini, 1995)
  • Blue Manakin (Chiroxiphia caudata) x Pin-tailed Manakin (Ilicura militaris) (Marini & Hackett, 2002)

Weir et al. (2015) provide genetic evidence for hybridization between Snow-capped Manakin (Lepidothrix nattereri) and Opal-crowned Manakin (L. iris) at Amazonian headwaters.

Hybridization in the genus Manacus is best studied in the family Pipridae. Parsons et al. (1993) indicated that hybridization between White-collared Manakin (M. candei) and Golden-collared Manakin (M. vitellinus) leads to the spread of secondary sexual traits (specifically golden plumage colour) of M. vitellinus into M. candei. Subsequent genetic studies confirmed this result and showed that different regions of the genome display different introgression patterns, mediated by selection and/or genetic drift (Brumfield et al., 2001; Parchman et al., 2013; Yuri et al., 2009). However, most research focused on the mechanism responsible for the unidirectional spread of plumage colour. By studying mixed leks (both white-collared and golden-collared birds), is was shown that golden-collared males mated more compared to the white-collared ones, but only if the frequency of golden-collared birds is higher than white-collared birds in the lek (Stein & Uy, 2006). This frequency-dependent effect can be explained by kin selection. Golden-collared males were more related compared to white-collared ones in the same lek (Concannon, Stein & Uy, 2012). Males were similar in aggression and body size, regardless of plumage colour. They were visited by a similar amount of females, but golden-collared males mated more (Stein & Uy, 2006). This observation suggests that female choice is more important than male-male interactions, although experimental work indicated that golden-collared males were more successful in such interactions (McDonald et al., 2001). The spread of plumage colour is rapid in the hybrid zone, but slows down in allopatry. This pattern might be explained by colour properties. Indeed, yellow is more conspicuous in the hybrid zone, while white is more conspicuous in allopatric regions (Uy & Stein, 2007).

Post-divergence gene flow has also been documented between Golden-collared Manakin (M. vitellinus) and White-bearded Manakin (M. manacus), based on phylogenetic analyses (Brumfield et al., 2008).

White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei) and Golden-collared Manakin (M. vitellinus)

White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei) and Golden-collared Manakin (M. vitellinus)


Brumfield, R. T., Jernigan, R. W., McDonald, D. B. & Braun, M. J. (2001). Evolutionary implications of divergent clines in an avian (Manacus : Aves) hybrid zone. Evolution 55, 2070-2087.

Brumfield, R. T., Liu, L., Lum, D. E. & Edwards, S. V. (2008). Comparison of Species Tree Methods for Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Bearded Manakins (Aves: Pipridae, Manacus) from Multilocus Sequence Data. Systematic Biology 57, 719-731.

Concannon, M. R., Stein, A. C. & Uy, J. A. C. (2012). Kin selection may contribute to lek evolution and trait introgression across an avian hybrid zone. Molecular Ecology 21, 1477-1486.

Graves, G. R. (1993). A New Hybrid Manakin (Dixiphia-Pipra X Pipra-Filicauda) (Aves, Pipridae) from the Andean Foothills of Eastern Ecuador. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 106, 436-441.

Marini, M. A. & Hackett, S. J. (2002). A multifaceted approach to the characterization of an intergeneric hybrid manakin (pipridae) from Brazil. Auk 119, 1114-1120.

McDonald, D. B., Clay, R. P., Brumfield, R. T. & Braun, M. J. (2001). Sexual selection on plumage and behavior in an avian hybrid zone: Experimental tests of male-male interactions. Evolution 55, 1443-1451.

Pacheco, J. & Parrini, R. (1995). O ‘rei-dos-tangarás’(Chiroxiphia caudata× Antilophia galeata) no sul de Minas Gerais. Atualidades Ornitológicas 66, 14.

Parchman, T. L., Gompert, Z., Braun, M. J., Brumfield, R. T., Mcdonald, D. B., Uy, J. A. C., Zhang, G., Jarvis, E. D., Schlinger, B. A. & Buerkle, C. A. (2013). The genomic consequences of adaptive divergence and reproductive isolation between species of manakins. Molecular Ecology 22, 3304-3317.

Parkes, K. C. (1961). Intergeneric hybrids in the family Pipridae. Condor, 345-350.

Parsons, T. J., Olson, S. L. & Braun, M. J. (1993). Unidirectional Spread of Secondary Sexual Plumage Traits across an Avian Hybrid Zone. Science 260, 1643-1646.

Stein, A. C. & Uy, J. A. C. (2006). Unidirectional introgression of a sexually selected trait across an avian hybrid zone: A role for female choice? Evolution 60, 1476-1485.

Stotz, D. F. (1993). A Hybrid Manakin (Pipra) from Roraima, Brazil, and a Phylogenetic Perspective on Hybridization in the Pipridae. Wilson Bulletin 105, 348-351.

Uy, J. A. C. & Stein, A. C. (2007). Variable visual habitats may influence the spread of colourful plumage across an avian hybrid zone. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20, 1847-1858.

Weir, J. T., Faccio, M. S., Pulido-Santacruz, P., Barrera-Guzman, A. O. & Aleixo, A. (2015). Hybridization in headwater regions, and the role of rivers as drivers of speciation in Amazonian birds. Evolution 69, 1823-1834.

Yuri, T., Jernigan, R. W., Brumfield, R. T., Bhagabati, N. K. & Braun, M. J. (2009). The effect of marker choice on estimated levels of introgression across an avian (Pipridae: Manacus) hybrid zone. Molecular Ecology 18, 4888-4903.

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