National Geographic : 2012 May
Ting! Tick! 66 77 7 5 5 5 Ridges RIGHT WING LEFT WING Secondary feathers Primary feathers 6 Right wing, underside Rachis 5 1 2 43 8 9 6 7 Actual size 45˚ Playing his wings To woo a mate, the male club-winged manakin dances, knocks his wings, and makes music: a tick, and then, if the female is interested, a violin- like ting. No one knew how the bird made the sounds until ornithologist Kim Bostwick used high-speed video and lab studies to find out. Feathers 6 and 7 are enlarged and club shaped. Feather 5's bowing action creates vibrations in these two feathers. Feather 5 is bent at a 45-degree angle and tapers to a blade. When the wings collide, it slides across the ridges on feather 6 like a bow. A feathered violin The club-winged mana- kin knocks his wings together 107 times a second to create sound. The sounds The vibrations of thick- walled feathers 6 and 7 spread to all secondary feathers; a tone rings out. One knock of the wings creates tick. A series of knocks yields ting. ART: FERNANDO G. BAPTISTA, NGM STAFF RESEARCH: TONY SCHICK SOURCE: KIM BOSTWICK, CORNELL UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF VERTEBRATES iPad Exclusive See the feathers knock together---and hear the ting---on our iPad edition.