The Tangata manu was the winner of a traditional competition on Rapa Nui. Each of these four also had a servant god who was associated with him/ her, the names of all eight would be chanted by contestants during the various rituals preceding the egg hunt. Contestants, all men of importance on the island, were revealed in dreams by ivi-attuas or prophets, the race was very dangerous and many hopu were killed by sharks, by drowning, or by falling from cliff faces, though replacements were apparently easily available. The cry would be taken up by listeners at the shoreline who would pass it up the side to the contestants waiting in the stone village. The new tangata-manu was entitled to gifts of food and other tributes, once in residence there he was considered tapu for the next five months of his year-long status, and allowed his nails to grow and wore a headdress of human hair. He would spend his time eating and sleeping, and would be expected to engage in no other activity, the Birdman cult was suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 1860s. The origin of the cult and the time thereof are uncertain, katherine Routledge was, however, able to collect the names of 86 tangata-manu. The band Rasputinas song Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken on their 2007 album, the Hollywood film Rapa Nui has a version of the race, though in the wrong historic context. The Alolan Guardians, of the Pokémon franchise seem to take inspiration on this legend, especially Tapu Koko, due to his tribal motif being a bird
Motu Nui, with the smaller Motu Iti in front and the isolated sea stack of Motu Kau Kau between them and the viewer. Viewed from the top of a 250 meters (820 feet) sea cliff at Orongo.
Birdmen (Tangata manu) paintings in the so-called "Cannibal Cave".