Male golden-collared manakins gather on leks and perform an acrobatic display to attract females. In temperate breeding species, testosterone (T) activation of courtship displays has been well studied. Few studies have examined T activation of displays in tropical species; even fewer have explored the activational role of T in elaborate courtship displays such as in the manakin. In some tropical species, including manakins, territorial aggression or song behavior are uncoupled from T. We have previously shown that T activates display behavior in manakin males when endogenous T levels are low in the non-courtship season. To understand how T functions in breeding birds, we examined T levels in a large group of manakins sampled during the courtship and non-courtship season. In addition, during the courtship season, we gave T implants to adult males, juvenile males, and females. We found that T levels were low during the non-courtship season and comparatively higher on average during the courtship season. However, T levels were low in many adult males during the courtship season, especially when compared to temperate breeding species. Regardless of initial endogenous T levels during the courtship season, T implants did not increase the display frequency of adult males. T-treated females and juvenile males did display under similar conditions. Our data suggest that the effects of T on manakin display vary with season, sex, and age and that high T is not necessary for display.
Aging Animals Courtship* Female Male Passeriformes/physiology* Seasons Sex Characteristics Sexual Behavior, Animal* Testosterone/blood Testosterone/physiology*