White-bearded Manakin, as other manakins’ species, is a small compact bird. Its courtship displays are spectacular and occur at communal leks.
Adult male has black and white plumage.
Crown, back, wings and tail are black. Rump and uppertail coverts are rather grey.
On the underparts, chin, throat and breast are white. Belly, flanks, vent and undertail coverts are pale grey. Undertail feathers are black.
The throat shows elongated feathers which play an important role in courtship displays.
On the head, lores, forehead and crown are black. Cheeks and neck collar are white.
Bill is blackish, with paler lower mandible. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are orange-red.
Female is very different with olive-green plumage on upperparts. Underparts are duller, rather greyish-olive on throat and belly. Breast is more olive-green.
Juvenile is similar to female. Immature male has full adult plumage at one year.
White-bearded Manakin is locally common in gallery woodland and forest edges with dense undergrowth. It also frequents second growths. It is mainly seen below 800 to 1000 metres of elevation.
White-bearded Manakin is resident in tropical regions of South America. It is found in Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad, and southwards in Bolivia and northern Argentina. There are two populations in separated ranges, one in the Pacific coast of Ecuador, and the other in eastern and south-eastern coasts of Brazil.
White-bearded Manakin feeds mainly on small fruits and insects (mainly eaten by the young). Fruits are plucked while flying, or sometimes from a perch if the fruit is close enough. Insects are caught in flight in low branches. It usually forages alone.