Review: Cotingas and Manakins

Drew WeberBooks, General News and Info, Reviews2 Comments

I was very excited to get my hands on the newly released Cotingas and Manakins by Guy M. Kirwan and Graeme Green. Some of my favorite birds that I saw during a trip to Costa Rica in 2004 were Long-tailed Manakin and Snowy Cotinga. Snowy Cotinga’s are neat because, of course, they are all white which is a pretty unusual plumage.

I particularly enjoyed the ‘toledo’ call of the Long-tailed Manakins that seemed to echo back and forth through the foilage where they were hiding. They do this neat thing where the males will duet back and forth which you can hear in the clip below from xeno-canto.


This is probably the easiest family monograph to flip through from cover to cover due to its gorgeous photography and quality illustrations. There is extensive information on range, distribution, subspecies, measurement, calls and life histories for each species which I am sure will prove invaluable to anyone studying this group of birds, as well as birders looking to learn more about these colorful gems.

The book begins with broad information on the entire group including conservation efforts and needs. This is followed by the color plates which are very nicely done and then each species gets its own account, many with multiple photographs.

Overall, it is a fantastic book that is worth adding to your library if you are making the trek to Central/South America, or you are as fascinated with these birds as I am.

  • 624 pages.
  • 34 color plates.
  • around 400 color photographs.
  • 130 species.

Book Review: “Cotingas and Manakins,” by Guy M. Kirwan and Graeme Green, Princeton University Press (2011).

Buy it at Barnes&Noble : Cotingas and Manakins