Jacanas – Jacanidae Family

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) by Ian's Birdway

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) by Ian's Birdway

Jacanas or Jaçana are in the Jacanidae family of the CHARADRIIFORMES order. Their family is unique in that the Lord especially adapted them to feed among lily pads of the shallow freshwater wetlands throughout the tropical zone. They have long toes and claws that help distribute their weight over the lily pads. As they walk around on the pads, they look like they are “walking on water.” “They are found around the world, with two in the New World (Northern and Wattled), two in Africa (Africa and Lesser), the Madagascar in Madagascar, two in Asia (Pheasant-tailed and Bronze Winged) and the Comb-crested in Australasia. They are sometimes known as a “lily-trotter” or “Jesus birds.”

The females are larger that the males and the males take responsibility of the incubation of the eggs. Some of the Jacana females mate with up to 4 males and then leave them to sit on the eggs. She does help in the feeding of the newbies.

Their diets consist mainly of insects, other invertebrates and seeds picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface. Most do not migrate except the Pheasant-tailed Jacana which travels from the north of its range into peninsular India and southeast Asia.

I was surprised that the Purple Gallinule was not in the same Order, but they are in the GRUIFORMES order, not the CHARADRIIFORMES order. We watch the Purple Gallinules often here and they also have big feet like the Jacana’s.

Check out A Noisy, Bird-Brained Harem from Creation Moments. It tells how one of the four males tries to get attention for himself.

Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. (Psalms 102:25 KJV)


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2 thoughts on “Jacanas – Jacanidae Family

  1. Wow, they all look so different! And as for the female leaving the males to sit on the eggs, I had a canary named “Doris Day” who did the same thing to her mate, “Dennis Day”. He was such a faithful Daddy!

    You’re doing a lot of work here, Lee. Ever thought of publishing what you’re doing?


    • Nope! Too many already doing a much better job than me. I just wanted it for my blog. It is kind of neat to learn about all the birds that the Lord has created and sent out all over this world. Still trying to get a better index up.


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