The Sapayoa is a small, olive-colored bird, somewhat paler below and with a yellowish throat. Its habitus resembles a bigger, longer-tailed, broader-billed female manakin. It is rare to uncommon in the forest understory, favoring ravines and small streams. It is usually seen in pairs or mixed-species flocks. It spends long periods perching, then sallies up to pick fruit or catch insects, on foliage or in mid air, with its flat, wide bill in a way reminiscent of flatbills. Other aspects of its biology as late as 2003 were still unknown.
Banks, Richard C.; Chesser, R. Terry; Cicero, Carla; Dunn, Jon L.; Kratter, Andrew W.; Lovette, Irby J.; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Remsen, J. V. Jr.; Rising, James D.; Stotz, Douglas F. & Winker, Kevin (2008): Forty-ninth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 125(3): 758–768. doi:10.1525.auk/2008.9708PDF fulltext
Irestedt, M.; Ohlson, J.I.; Zuccon, Dario; Källersjö, M. & Ericson, Per G.P. (2006): Nuclear DNA from old collections of avian study skins reveals the evolutionary history of the Old World suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes). Zool. Scripta35(6): 567-580. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00249.xPDF fulltext
Remsen, J. V., Jr.; Cadena, C. D.; Jaramillo, A.; Nores, M.; Pacheco, J. F. Robbins, M. B.; Schulenberg, T. S., Stiles, F. G.; Stotz, D. F.; & Zimmer, K. J. Version [2009-04-02]. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. HTML full text