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Searching for the Araripe Manakin, With Gerrit Vyn

A stunning bird that’s critically endangered
© Rick Ellis Simpson - FCC View Large

Gerrit Vyn is a sound recordist for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He recently traveled to northeastern Brazil’s Araripe Plateau in search of the Araripe Manakin, a beautiful white bird with dark wing-tips and tail-feathers — and a deep red hood. The Araripe Manakin is critically endangered, in part because of its limited range. But, as Gerrit observes, human activity also threatens the bird’s survival.

Full Transcript


Searching for the Araripe Manakin, with Gerrit Vyn
Written by Dominic Black from audio recordings by Gerrit Vyn

This is BirdNote.

It’s about 7am, and I’m jumping in the car in Crato, Brazil, to head up to try to get some recordings of Araripe Manakin… 

Gerrit Vyn is a sound recordist for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the bird he’s looking for is a stunner — about the size of a chunky sparrow, white with inky dark wing-tips and tail-feathers and a deep blood-red hood. The Araripe Manakin’s critically endangered, in part because it lives mainly in an incredibly small area of northeastern Brazil’s Araripe Plateau:

So literally I can see the entire species’ range from a hilltop here. It’s along the slopes and usually associated with springs. There’s a lot of natural springs here, and it supports the vegetation they like and the foods they like and the females like to nest, literally with their nests hanging over these small creeks in the tropical vegetation.    

Besides it being such a limited range, there’s also a very high demand for this water so a lot of the springs have been degraded, and a lot of them have most of their water extracted from them. So protecting these last springs that support these birds is critical for their survival. 

Which is partly why recording the Araripe Manakin is such a big deal. Tomorrow we head into the woods with Gerrit Vyn of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to capture one of the first clean recordings of this critically endangered bird.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.


Field recordings by Gerrit Vyn. Editing and mixing by John Kessler and Dominic Black.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to        February 2016/December 2017         Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#     ARAMAN-01-2016-02-01       ARAMAN-01

Sights & Sounds

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