The Jacanas – Ornithology


Enticing birds of the tropics of Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia, Jacanas sprightly transfer over the tops of lily pads and different floating vegetation with ease. They’re weak fliers and go aerial for under brief distances, however they’ll swim underwater to keep away from predators and stay within the water for lengthy durations with solely their invoice above the floor, All eight species are enticing, having a darkish physique with a contrasting breast and/or head and neck, however the obvious attribute is their elongated toes and claws that enable them to stroll on emergent and floating vegetation, giving them the typically moniker of “Jesus hen.” They’re additionally referred to as the lotus hen or lily trotter.  Jacanas normally have a brightly coloured patch of naked pores and skin, referred to as a frontal defend, in entrance of their eyes and above the beak which will serve a function in sexual choice or territoriality. Most of those shields are crimson, though the African and Madagascar jacanas have a shiny blue defend.

African jacana - Wikipedia
African Jacana

Jacanas are largely carnivorous, consuming bugs, fish, snails, worms, and small crabs by grabbing lily pads with their beak and turning them over. They may eat seeds and plant roots however have a tendency to not eat vegetation besides within the strategy of snatching animal prey. The Wattled Jacana of South America can even decide parasites off the again of a capybara.

Like many shorebirds, jacanas lay 4 eggs, the male alone constructing a nest constructed of floating and emergent vegetation. Apart from nest building, in most species, the male additionally incubates the eggs and cares for the younger birds. For the reason that nest is at the very least partially floating, the eggs are in peril of getting moist and cooling, so the male jacana incubates the eggs below his wings, subsequent to his physique. “This wing-brooding could also be assisted by a particular adaptation within the wing bones with both a broadening of the radius or a widening of the hole between the radius and ulna. Younger chicks may be held below the wing and transported to security by the father or mother hen in some species.” Wikipedia

Most species of jacanas are polyandrous, which means {that a} single feminine will mate with a number of males after which lay eggs in every of their nests. Usually, a feminine will mate with two to 4 males, though the quantity could be as many as 10 within the case of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana. The feminine defends the territories of the males whereas incubation is happening however abandons the nest and territory as soon as the younger hatch. The females are bigger than the males however the plumage of each sexes is analogous. (Solely the Lesser Jacana is monogamous however the male nonetheless does many of the work.)

NestWatch | Amazing breeding of pheasant tailed Jacana - NestWatch
Pheasant-tailed Jacana

The Jacanidae is a household within the Order Charadriiformes which accommodates shorebirds, auks, and gulls and terns. Lower than one p.c of all birds are polyandrous, and most of them belong to this order, such because the phalaropes, stints, plovers, and Noticed Sandpiper, in addition to the jacanas.

The title jacana comes from Brazilian Portuguese through the native Tupian language phrase jasaná.



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