African Jacana

African jacana-small


Length 25-30 cm, mass 115-274 g
Chestnut upperparts with black wingtips, rear neck and eyestripe
White underparts
Chestnut belly patcha
Blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield
Legs and very long toes are grey
Eyes are dark brown
Sexes alike but the females are larger than males


Lagoons, lakes, pans, river backwaters; usually with fringing vegetation and floating water lilies, Polygonum and other water plants.


The Jacanas are a group of waders in the order Charadriiformes. Their huge feet and claws enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat.


Mostly aquatic insects, larvae, small fish, spiders, crustaceans and plants.


It is sedentary apart from seasonal dispersion. It lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. The males, as in some other wader families like the phalaropes, take responsibility for incubation.

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