Araripe Manakin

South America


Antilophia bokermanni


Rapid population decline of this species is attributed to conversion of its native habitat range for human settlements, cattle-raising, and agriculture (tomatoes, bananas, beans, and maize).

The Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) is a species of critically endangered bird from the family of manakins (Pipridae). Because of its helmet-like crown it has received the Portuguese name soldadinho-do-araripe which means “little soldier of Araripe”. This name also associates it with the related, but more widespread, helmeted manakin (Antilophia galeata), which is known simply as the soldadinho.

As typical of most manakins, males and females have a strong sexual dimorphism in the colors of the plumage. As in the helmeted manakin, it is a relatively large and long-tailed manakin, with a total length of c. 14.5 centimetres (5.7 in). The strikingly patterned males have a predominantly white plumage. With the exception of the white wing coverts, the wings are black as the tail. From the frontal tuft, over the crown, down to the middle back runs a carmine red patch. The iris is red. The females are mainly olive green and have pale green upperparts. They have a reduced olive green frontal tuft.

This species is endemic to the Chapada do Araripe (Araripe uplands) in the Brazilian state of Ceará in the north eastern region of the country. It is only fifty kilometres long and one kilometre wide and the typical habitat apparently is a consequence of the soils formed from the Early Cretaceous Santana Formation limestone. The pure breeding range has a size of only 1 km² and lies in a theme park. It is likely to be more widespread than presently known, although surveys in nearby Balneario das Caldas failed to locate any individuals.