Encyclopedia > Jacana

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Jacanidae
Microparra capensis
Actophilornis africana
Actophilornis albinucha
Irediparra gallinacea
Hydrophasianus chirurgus
Metopidius indicus
Jacana spinosa
Jacana jacana

The Jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone.

They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat.

The females are larger than the males; the latter, as in some other wader families like the phalaropes take responsibility for incubation. However, adults of both sexes look identical, as with most shorebirds.

Food is insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface.

Most species are sedentary, but Pheasant-tailed Jacana migrates from the north of its range into peninsular India and southeast Asia.

The eight species are:

  • Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis
  • African Jacana Actophilornis africana
  • Madagascar Jacana Actophilornis albinucha
  • Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea
  • Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
  • Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
  • Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
  • Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana

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