A highlight for me of any trip to the Neotropics is watching the spectacle of a manakin lek. Male manakins spend most of their time congregating at lekking sites where they perform elaborate displays in an attempt to attract females. You can usually tell that you are approaching a manakin lek by the distinctive ‘finger-snapping’ sounds that a lot of manakin species make.
The male Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus), pictured here in Ecuador, has evolved modified secondary wing feathers-these feathers being twisted and bent, having hollow, ‘club-shaped’ ends. At the peak of their display, the males rapidly vibrate these feathers to produce a spectacular mechanical noise, designed to melt the heart of any passing female, or human photographer.