The Red-capped Manakin is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Panama. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The bird is probably best known for the male's unusual courting method whereby it shuffles rapidly backwards across a branch.
The Red-capped Manakin is a small perching bird, measuring 10 cm in length and weighing 16 gm. The male is velvety black apart from a bright red head and nape, bright yellow thighs, and a pale yellow chin and wing linings. The female is olive green above, with paler, more yellow-green underparts. Both Male and Femal have dull brown legs. The male's irides are white, while those of the female and young are brown.