Skip to main content

Social and environmental cues drive the intra-population variation in courtship behavior of a neotropical lekking bird


Sexual selection predicts evolution of secondary sexual traits favoring mating. Here, we address the within population variation in courtship display behavior among male White-throated Manakins, Corapipo gutturalis, from Central Amazonia. We repeatedly quantified the courtship display elements used by 16 males over multiple days and specifically tested whether male presence and displays at courts could be explained by variation in environmental conditions (forest shade with small sunny gaps, large sunny gaps, and cloudy), male age (juvenile or adult), or yet the social context (other males and female visits) during displays. Our results show that total male presence and time displaying varied with the total number of other males and female visits at the court. In addition, the type of courtship elements used in displays (assessed by principal component analysis) also varied with the presence of both females and other males on the court. Male age, however, did not influence male activity. Overall, the social context at the court was the strongest predictor of within-population variations in male courtship display, whereas light conditions only affected display duration. Variation in display repertoire with female presence might reflect variation in female preferences. In addition, similar displays among males of different age classes suggest a competitive, rather than cooperative lek system of White-throated Manakins in Central Amazonia.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Data availability

Additional supporting information may be found online in the Supplemental Files.


Download references


We are thankful to BDFFP (Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project) for all logistics support being the study 815 of the Technical Series of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP - INPA/STRI); Izeni P. Farias at LEGAL (UFAM) for funding molecular sexing; Flavia Santana and Renato Cintra for contributing to experimental design; Pedro Pequeno for providing important statistical advice and contributing revising earlier versions of the manuscript; and Mylene M. Mariette and anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the manuscript.


This study was financed by Thomas A. Lovejoy grant for graduate research. Materials used in data collection were provided by Idea Wild and Birders’ Exchange. FA and APR received fellowship from the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). MB and MT received fellowship from The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). ILK received a productivity grant from CNPq.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Filipe Aramuni.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (DOCX 382 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Aramuni, F., Bosholn, M., Tolentino, M. et al. Social and environmental cues drive the intra-population variation in courtship behavior of a neotropical lekking bird. acta ethol 24, 165–176 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Female choice
  • Lek Polygyny
  • Male-male competition
  • Neotropics
  • Pipridae
  • Sexual traits