Information

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The Wattled Jacana is a wader which is a resident breeder from western Panama and Trinidad south through most of South America east of the Andes.

The jacanas are a group of wetland birds, which are identifiable by their huge feet and claws that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone.

The Wattled Jacana lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. The male, as with other jacanas and some other wader families like the phalaropes, takes responsibility for incubation, with two eggs held between each wing and the breast. The females are polyandrous, and will help to defend the nests of up to four mates.

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are 25 cm long. Females are larger than the males. The adults have a chestnut back and wing coverts, with the rest of the body mainly black. In flight the greenish yellow flight feathers are obvious. The yellow bill extends up as a red coot-like head shield and a reddish wattle, and the legs and very long toes are dull blue-grey. There is a long sharp spur on the bend of the wing.

Young birds initially have entirely white underparts, and can always be identified by the presence of white in their plumage.

The Wattled Jacana's food is insects, other invertebrates and seeds picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface.

Photos

Wattled jacana, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Wattled jacana, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

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