The 216 species of woodpeckers are found across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, of which 109 live in Mexico, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean. They are important components of the tropical American ecosystem, as other birds, such as trogons, use the nests they excavate in trees. True to their name, their skulls, beaks and tongues are uniquely adapted to extracting insects from trees. Tropical American woodpeckers are uncommon in zoos, but the DWA has done well with four species: Red-crowned woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus), Puerto Rican woodpecker (Melanerpes portoricensis), Panamanian acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus striatipectus) and the Golden-naped woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen).
Compared to some other manakins, the male Blue-crowned manakin performs a quieter display, bowing its brilliantly colored head forward while giving a musical trill. Despite having an extensive range, from Costa Rica and Panama, all the way south to Bolivia, it has always been rare in captivity
Though found from Mexico to Brazil, this primitive bird has never been common in captivity. Chicks were hatched in California in the 1970s, but the species had long vanished from US collections by the time several were imported from Panama by the DWA in 2009. The large eggs are a beautiful shade of blue.