African Jacana

The African Jacana is a wader, which is to say its feet are perfectly adapted to walk on floating vegetation such as Lillies.

African Jacana
©Robb Carr
African Jacana
©Rob Carr

Bird information.

Where can we see an African Jacana?

These Jacanas were photographed at our newly formed water park, a short walk from Footsteps. Otherwise, you would find them all across sub-Saharan Africa.

What does it look like?

African Jacana is a conspicuous and unmistakable bird. They can measure 23 to 31 cm long. As in other jacanas, females average larger than males. Males can weigh from 115 to 224 g, averaging 137 g and females from 167 to 290 g, averaging 261 g. Alongside the similarly-sized Madagascar jacana, this appears to be the heaviest jacana species. They have chestnut upper parts with black wingtips, rear neck, and eyestripe. The underparts are also chestnut in the adults, but only in juveniles, they are white with a chestnut belly patch. The blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield, and the legs and long toes are grey. Source Wikipedia.

What does it feed on?

They feed on insects that they find on floating vegetation or on the water’s surface.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

Jacanas are known to be polyandrous, which is to say that the female mates with multiple males and then it is the male which cares for the chicks. So good are the males at caring for their offspring that they will even carry them around under their wings!

How does it sound?

They are extremely vocal. Making harsh shrieks and almost barking noises. When in flight they make a fast kreep – kreep – kreep sound. Alarm calls are very loud and are made up of sharp single calls of kaakup.